Tesla's China vehicle deliveries bounce back in May
Tesla shares jumped as much as 3% on the news in pre-market trading Tuesday
Tesla shares are trading lower after jumping in pre-market trading Tuesday on news the electric vehicle maker's deliveries in China bounced back in May.
According to data from China's Passenger Car Association, Tesla sold 33,463 total vehicles made in China in May. Approximately 21,936 vehicles were delivered in China, while 11,527 were exported to Europe. The delivery figures mark a 29% improvement from April, when the company sold about 26,000 electric vehicles made in China, down from roughly 36,000 in March. In April, roughly 12,000 Tesla vehicles were delivered in China and 14,000 were exported to Europe.
Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives noted that the China deliveries for May rebounded much faster than Wall Street expected, pushing Tesla shares up as much as 3% in pre-market trading. The firm forecasts Tesla will deliver about 300,000 vehicles in China this year.
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Tesla faces growing competition in China's electric vehicle space from competitors including BYD and startups Nio and Xpeng.
China's total new electric vehicle sales surged 177% to 185,000 cars in May from a year earlier, while overall passenger vehicle sales rose 1.1% to 1.66 million cars. CPAC estimates the country will sell a total of 2.4 million electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell passenger vehicles this year.
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Tensions between Tesla and the Chinese government have also risen over fears of potential data collection and national intelligence leaks through the vehicle's camera technology, leading the country to reportedly ban its use by military members and employees of state-owned companies following a security review.
In addition, the company has faced scrutiny over its handling of customer complaints of quality issues. Chinese regulators urged Tesla to ensure its quality and announced strengthened inspections on Tesla’s operations in China, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In a statement posted on Weibo, a Twitter-like platform in China, Tesla promised to respect consumers and cooperate with all investigations.
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Tesla said in its letter to shareholders for the first quarter of 2021 that production of the Model Y at Gigafactory Shanghai was "progressing well," with quarterly production output expected to increase throughout the rest of the year. Model Y production is also approaching full capacity in the company's Fremont, California facility and is expected to start production and deliveries in Texas later this year.
CEO Elon Musk predicted on the company's latest earnings call that the Model Y would become the world's best-selling vehicle as early as 2022. He also claimed that the Model 3 was the world's best-selling luxury sedan during the period, taking the mantle from the BMW 3-Series.
The company delivered a total of 184,877 vehicles in the first quarter despite "severe supply chain issues", with the Model 3 and Y accounting for 182,847 of the deliveries, while the Model S and X accounted for 2,030 deliveries. Tesla said it expects 50% average growth in vehicle deliveries in 2021 and beyond.
"In some years we may grow faster, which we expect to be the case in 2021," Tesla told shareholders. "The rate of growth will depend on our equipment capacity, operational efficiency and capacity and stability of the supply chain."
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The data from China comes ahead of Tesla's upcoming delivery event for the Model S Plaid on Thursday. Musk claims the Model S Plaid is the "quickest production car ever made of any kind", which "has to be felt to be believed."
The Plaid, which has a starting price of $119,900 before gas savings and tax incentives, is capable of traveling from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 1.99 seconds. The Plaid has a top speed of 200 miles per hour and can cover 390 miles per charge, according to the company's website.
Musk also announced that production on the Plaid+ has been canceled, noting that there is "no need" due to the Plaid being "just so good." The Plaid+, which had a starting price of $149,900 before gas savings and tax incentives and an estimated range of 520 miles, was supposed to be available starting in mid-2022.
FOX Business' Audrey Conklin and Jackie Zhou contributed to this report