Tesla forced to idle production at Gigafactory Shanghai again

Tesla is closing its Gigafactory Shanghai for the second time this month due to a surge in local COVID-19 cases. Volkswagen and General Motors said on Monday that their Shanghai operations have not been affected.

Tesla’s round-the-clock factory suspended production for four days beginning Monday as Shanghai goes into lockdown. The automaker also shuttered the plant for two days in mid-March due to the virus’s resurgence there.

Gigafactory Shanghai, the largest EV factory in the world, produces about 2,000 vehicles daily — mostly Model Ys and Model 3s for Chinese and Japanese consumers and the automaker’s crucial European market. Coupled with the global supply chain crunch, the closure may thwart Tesla’s recently teased Master Plan Part 3, which CEO Elon Musk tweeted will discuss the automaker’s strategy to scale to “extreme” size.

The majority of China’s new virus cases are located in Shanghai, with most cases reported as asymptomatic. On Monday, the local government initiated a two-stage lockdown to perform mass testing. The factory is located in a region affected by the first stage of the lockdown, which will last until Friday.

Tesla opened its first European factory, a $5 billion facility in Berlin, on March 15.

Tesla also announced Monday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it wants to split its stock in order to issue a dividend to shareholders. The company plans to present the proposal at its annual shareholders meeting “for an increase in the number of authorized shares of common stock … in order to enable a stock split of the Company’s common stock in the form of a stock dividend.”

The company last split its stock 5 to 1 in August 2020.