Tesla takes hit on China sales even before major impact of Covid-19

Registrations of new Tesla cars plunged 46% in January from December

 The new Tesla factory  in Shanghai, China, which is producing Model 3 sedans. Photograph:  Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

The new Tesla factory in Shanghai, China, which is producing Model 3 sedans. Photograph: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

 

Tesla shares fell after China registration data indicated a significant sequential slowdown in demand before the electric-car maker started feeling the brunt of any impact from the coronavirus.

Registrations of new Tesla cars plunged 46 per cent to 3,563 in January from December, according to state-backed China Automotive Information Net, which gathers industry data based on insurance purchases. Of the January registrations, 2,605 were for cars built in China.

While Tesla had bucked the trend in China’s waning electric-car market in the previous two months, the January drop shows that the US brand isn’t immune to challenges the broader industry is facing. China’s car market probably is headed for a third straight annual decline as the coronavirus outbreak exacerbates a slump started by an economic slowdown and trade tensions.

Tesla shares dropped as much as 6.8 per cent shortly after the start of regular trading. The stock had soared 86 per cent this year through the close Wednesday, partly driven by optimism about the company starting to produce Model 3 sedans at a newly built plant near Shanghai. – Bloomberg