With Tesla’s Shanghai factory (Gigafactory 3) up and running, the electric carmaker is now looking to open a design and research centre in China. According to a recruitment notice on the company’s official WeChat account, the facility will be responsible for developing “Chinese-style” vehicles, as reported by Reuters.
The notice stated that the company is looking for designers and other staff to help fulfill the goal, and called for applications by February 1. “In order to achieve a shift of ‘Made in China’ to ‘Designed in China’, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has proposed a very cool thing – set up a design and research center in China,” it read.
However, the notice didn’t reveal where the centre would be located, nor did it state when operations would begin. Interestingly enough, the recruitment post did include a sketch of a short wheelbase vehicle concept that could indicate an electric city car is being planned, with the name “Model 2” being thrown around as a possible name for such a car.
The concept bears some resemblance to the Model 3 and Model Y, but features more aggressively-styled bodywork, particularly in the rear. For now, we can only take the sketch at face value, as the company has yet to indicate if this would become a production car.
The carmaker is betting big on Chinese consumers, with strong demand for its vehicles in the past two years. The number of registered Tesla in the country rose to 6,643 units in December last year, bringing the total number in the Chinese market to 42,715 units in 2019, which is considerably more than the 16,360 units recorded in 2018. This commitment to the Chinese market will also see personalised features being offered to the customers there.
Tesla has previously announced it would be bringing games and streaming videos to its in-car touchscreens in China in the first quarter of 2020. These include stream channels from cartoon-focused Bilibili and Alibaba-backed Youku, along with three online games – mahjong and two versions of poker from Chinese tech-giant Tencent.