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Tesla outperforms new-energy vehicle market

Hu Yumo
US electric carmaker Tesla China's registrations which insiders regard as a reflection of sales performance grew to 11,565 in May from 4,633 units in April.
Hu Yumo

The number of Tesla China registrations grew to 11,565 in May from 4,633 units in April, according to data from auto consultancy LMC Automotive.

Registrations refer to the number of new cars registered with the vehicle management department. Tesla did not disclose its sales figures but industry insiders regard registrations as a way to reflect the US automaker’s sales performance in the Chinese market.

Tesla's growth performance is better than that of the overall new-energy vehicle market. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sales of new-energy vehicles declined 22.6 percent year on year in May. New-energy vehicle sales climbed 12.2 percent from April to May. 

In May, sales of new-energy vehicles in the Chinese market fell for an 11th month to 82,000 units, data from the China Passenger Car Association showed. Last month, electric vehicles declined 25.1 percent year on year to 64,000 units. Sales of plug-in hybrids dropped 16.1 percent to 18,000 vehicles.

Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the association , said: “After experiencing capacity ramps, COVID-19 pandemic and price adjustment, Tesla's vehicle sales are increasing." 

Cui added the good performance may sustain given Tesla's production and sales remain stable.

Tesla performed well in the new-energy vehicle market. According to data from the association, the cumulative sales of Tesla's China-made Model 3 vehicles in the first five months of the year exceeded 30,000 units, surpassing the second-ranked BYD Qin EV model by 4,000 units. 

Industry insiders said Tesla started to perform well in March. Its sales performance in the first five months is attributed to price cuts. In the second half of this year, the gap between Tesla's sales and other new energy brands will gradually become wider, market observers said.

In late May, Tesla said it will lower prices of Model S and Model X vehicles in China, but China-made Model 3 prices will remain unchanged. Tesla said the price cuts followed its decision to lower prices in North America. Prices of the two models will be reduced by 29,000 yuan (US$4,096), or around 4 percent of the original price.

Li Yanwei, an analyst at the China Automobile Dealers Association, said consumers who buy traditional luxury car may also consider buying Tesla's electric vehicles, as luxury car buyers are aiming at a vehicle which costs around 300,000 yuan.

Li said Tesla did not pose a big threat to luxury gasoline vehicles for now but after large-scale transformation of the entire automotive industry to electric vehicles, Tesla may become a rival to traditional luxury brands.

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