Tesla’s growth slows signficantly in Chinese market

Number of cars registered in the country falls from 34,714 to just 11,949 in April

The slump caps a poor run for Elon Musk’s EV pioneer

The slump caps a poor run for Elon Musk’s EV pioneer

 

Tesla’s growth in China slowed precipitously last month, adding to the company’s headaches after an embarrassing protest at the Shanghai Auto Show and a run of accidents involving its electric cars.

In April, 11,949 China-built Teslas were registered in the country, according to data from state-backed China Automotive Information Net. That’s down sharply from a record 34,714 registrations in March.

The slump caps a poor run for Elon Musk’s EV pioneer, which until recently had enjoyed a dream stretch since breaking ground on its Shanghai Gigafactory in early 2019 - receiving all-important support from the government and appearing to skirt the tensions between Washington and Beijing.

However, it has lately attracted unwanted publicity, with a disgruntled owner climbing atop one of Tesla’s display vehicles at last month’s car show, shouting that her car’s brakes had failed, causing an accident. That was quickly followed by two rebukes from government entities, saying the electric-car maker should respect Chinese consumers and comply with local laws.

This week, a traffic policeman was killed and another injured in a crash involving a Tesla. Another accident earlier this month is also still under investigation in China after a Tesla rear-ended a truck, killing the driver of the EV, according to a Global Times report. The cause of that crash isn’t yet clear.

While hundreds of people die on China’s roads each day, accidents involving Tesla’s attract intense public interest, with footage quickly going viral on social media.

The slump in April registrations is a reversal from the first quarter, when demand from Chinese buyers helped Tesla report estimate-smashing deliveries, which prompted analyst Dan Ives at Wedbush to note that the “eye popping” numbers coming out of China can’t be ignored.

Tesla shares have declined 18 per cent this year, giving back some of last year’s blistering 743 per cent rally.

- Bloomberg