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Tesla’s Chinese sales are struggling to bounce back from the April downturn

China-made Model 3 cars are seen during a delivery event at its plant in Shanghai, China, on January 7, 2020.

Aly Song | Reuters

BEIJING – Tesla’s sales in China rose in May from the previous month, but failed to recover from the levels observed in March, according to the China Automobile Association.

In May, Tesla sold 33,463 electric vehicles, up 29 percent from 25,845 in April, according to data released late Tuesday. Their number still fell to 35,478 car sales in March.

The sales recovery comes despite growing negative controls on the press and regulations on Tesla due to customer reports of brake malfunctions. The automotive industry has also reduced production due to a global shortage of chips.

Shares of Tesla fell 0.25% overnight in New York. Shares have fallen just over 1

4% for the year so far.

In May, Tesla shipped 11,527 vehicles from its Shanghai plant, down from 14,174 vehicles reported in April, according to the car association. Data for March were not available.

Total sales of purely electric cars more than doubled compared to a year ago, rising 186% to 162,000 units in May, the association said. Some in the Chinese automotive industry question the accuracy of the association’s data.

While Tesla’s cars rank among the 10 new energy cars sold in China, the report says local startups like Nio are also doing well in May. New energy vehicles include hybrid cars.

The report says Volkswagen accounts for almost half or 48% of new energy vehicle sales from major foreign-branded joint ventures.

However, the report says that luxury electric cars from Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi have not yet seen a significant increase in customer purchases.

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

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