Tesla China president now in charge of sales and service in North America

January 3, 2023 8:01 pm

Tom Zhu, the president of Tesla China, has taken over the company’s sales and service in North America with Tesla Vice President Troy Jones reporting directly to him, according to Electrek.

Troy Jones, a ten-year Tesla veteran, oversees the company’s sales in North America and reported directly to Elon Musk. Him reporting to Zhu now adds gravity to Zhu’s responsibility and potential in the company. Previously, Zhu has also been appointed to oversee Tesla’s factory in Austin, Texas, which started production a year ago.

Tom Zhu, or Xiaotong Zhu, has been in charge of Tesla affairs (such as production, sales, etc.) in China for several years. As PingWest previously reported, Tom Zhu is likely moving on to become the CEO of Tesla Global. Zhu will not replace Elon Musk’s role at the company entirely, unlike the title suggests. The position Zhu will be appointed only covers Tesla’s automotive business, and will exclude its autonomous driving and robotics projects from the start, according to several sources who spoke to PingWest.

Even though Tesla has not officially confirmed the news, signs of Zhu fading out of Tesla China and moving on to a broader position has been emerging. Zhu is no longer the “legal representative” of a car dealership associated with Tesla, as PingWest reported on December 27. (Under China laws, a legal representative is someone who’s name is on the company’s business license. The role itself normally doesn’t come with any authority or management power. )

Ever since joining Tesla China in April 2014, Zhu has played a critical role in the Tesla’s expansion in the country and especially the company’s Gigafactory in Shanghai. It only took less than a year for Zhu to rise to Tesla China’s leadership, and five years for him to be identified as Tesla’s Global Vice President and President of Greater China.

Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory officially began production in October 2019. By 2021, the factory accounted for 51.7% of Tesla’s global deliveries. In November this year, the Shanghai Gigafactory delivered 100,291 vehicles, setting a new record for monthly deliveries, according to Chinese media Xinhua News Agency.

Under Zhu’s leadership, Tesla China’s numbers clearly pleased Musk. Earlier this year, Zhu was appointed to lead Tesla’s businesses in the Asia-Pacific region, which includes Singapore, Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

Notably, when the Shanghai plant was largely affected by the COVID outbreak in China earlier this year and had to shutdown temporarily, Zhu spent most of the second half of this year shuttling between Fremont, California, and Austin, Texas, where Tesla headquarters are located, working with Musk on a number of global matters, rather than focusing on the Shanghai Plant, the operation across China, or even Asian-Pacific regional matters.