China chief Tom Zhu has reportedly been promoted to run the electric vehicle maker's US assembly plants as well as sales operations in North America and Europe.

(File photo shows Tom Zhu interviewed by Chinese media.)

The role of Tesla's (NASDAQ: TSLA) top executive in China has further expanded with his promotion at the electric car giant.

Tesla China chief Tom Zhu has been promoted to head the electric vehicle maker's US assembly plants as well as sales operations in North America and Europe, Reuters said today, citing an internal posting of reporting lines.

Zhu's title remains unchanged and, as of Tuesday, he also retains his duties as Tesla's top executive responsible for sales in China and the rest of Asia, according to the report.

The move makes Zhu the highest-profile Tesla executive since Elon Musk, with oversight for deliveries in all of its major markets and all of its production outside the still-ramping Tesla plant in Germany, the report noted.

Earlier today, Electrek first reported a similar development, saying Zhu had taken over sales, service and delivery responsibilities for Tesla in North America.

Zhu's official title now remains Tesla's vice president for Asia Pacific, but has now been added to the North American sales, service and delivery organizational chart, Electrek said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Troy Jones, Tesla's vice president of North American sales and service, who has been with Tesla for 12 years, now reports directly to Zhu, according to the report.

Zhu joined Tesla in April 2014 as director of the EV maker's Supercharger program in China. In July 2019, he was mentioned in media reports in his position as Tesla's global vice president and president of the Greater China region.

On December 8, Chinese media outlet Ping West, citing unnamed sources, said Musk had finalized the decision to make Zhu his successor as CEO of the EV maker.

Zhu's CEO role would be global, but the scope of responsibilities would likely be limited to Tesla's automotive business and not include self-driving and robotics programs, the report said.

Zhu is extremely close to Musk in some key traits -- near 24-hour focus, little personal life and strict with employees, the report said.

In March and April, Giga Shanghai was briefly shut down because of a Covid lockdown. Zhu had lived in the factory for two months during the early stages of the plant's resumption of production, bringing about a recovery and growth in Tesla China's capacity, according to the report.

This practice is similar to how Musk used to sleep in Fremont's Gigafactory for Tesla's sedan deliveries and how he often slept in the social media company's headquarters office after acquiring Twitter, the report said.

Also on December 8, Bloomberg reported that Musk had appointed Zhu to help run Tesla's newest factory in Austin, Texas.

On December 27, CnEVPost reported that Tesla's operating entity in China saw a change in legal representative, signaling a possible change in Zhu's role.

Zhu is no longer the legal representative of Tesla Shanghai Co Ltd, and the position is being filled by Wang Hao, information from data provider Qichacha shows.

Zhu remains chairman of the company, and Wang is Tesla's general manager for China.