Tesla’s made-in-Shanghai electric vehicles (EVs) are stealing the show at the China International Import Expo (CIIE), but a surge in orders could put pressure on its production capacity. The US carmaker and runaway leader in China’s premium EV segment did not reveal the number of orders it has received during CIIE , which started on Friday last week and concludes on Wednesday, but its booth has been the lone bright spot in the event’s automobile hall. “Tesla is now top choice for me,” Lu Jun, a 50-year old Shanghai native and visitor to the expo, said on Tuesday. “The Model Y appears to be very attractive and I just cannot wait any longer,” he said, adding that he had decided to place an order for a standard range Model Y priced at 276,000 yuan (US$43,186) on the spur of the moment. The expo was launched in 2018 as Beijing moved to assure global businesses that China would be an important buyer of their products and services amid its escalating trade war with the United States. CIIE is also viewed as an event that highlights Beijing’s willingness to open up its vast market to foreign firms. Tesla, the only foreign carmaker with a fully owned assembly plant in China, is seen as a top beneficiary of this liberalisation drive. And with mainland motorists embracing EVs in greater numbers, and Tesla’s success at events such as CIIE, pressure will grow on the US carmaker to expand production. It last week denied reports that a second mainland plant would be located in Qingdao , in China’s eastern Shandong province. Tesla completes Shanghai data centre, innovation hub as it joins US$1 trillion club The US carmaker’s Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai’s Lingang free-trade zone began delivering Model 3s to Chinese customers in January last year and has now reached an annual capacity of 450,000 units. In the first nine months this year, the facility produced about 300,000 vehicles, according to the China Passenger Car Association. About 200,000 EVs were delivered to Chinese buyers, and the rest have been exported. Tesla buyers have to wait at least six weeks before their cars are delivered to them. Some may even have to wait 10 weeks, according to Tesla sales staff. Moreover, the US carmaker last week began offering financing services to Chinese customers in an attempt to attract more buyers. It said in a statement that its financing plans had resulted in surging orders. Elon Musk praises China’s carmakers and calls for concerted efforts to ensure data security “I believe it is seriously planning to expand production,” said Gao Shen, an independent analyst in Shanghai. “More Chinese drivers – impressed by Tesla cars – are willing to buy them.” The sales of new-energy vehicles, which comprise pure electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell-powered cars, jumped 185 per cent year on year to 2.16 million units in the first three quarters of this year, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said last month. They have bucked a decline in the overall sales of cars, which were down 11 per cent year on year in this period. As it stands, China’s carmaking industry is heading for a fourth consecutive year of contractions.