In assessing the economic aftermath of the coronavirus crisis, China is a benchmark. Indeed, the country was deconfined on April 7, well before the Western countries. We communicated on the good sales performance in the second week of April and we take stock after a full month.

Sales down sharply in April

According to The China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) Tesla sold 3635 Model 3 in April versus 10160 in March. (-64%)

This figure probably explains the tension Elon Musk is currently displaying on Twitter about the factory and Tesla Store closure measures. And when Elon Musk recalls the experience gained by his teams in China on securing production plants, perhaps he also refers to his knowledge of the economic shock implied by these measures.

In the case of China, what is all the more confusing is that sales seemed to start rising sharply again at the end of the deconfinement, and that won’t have lasted long. Still according to the CPCA, this significant drop in sales for Tesla comes at a time when the country is seeing a 10% increase in electric vehicle sales. It is therefore important to understand that the post-confinement craze is mainly benefiting domestic competition (NIO). And this is not shocking when we observe the craze for domestic production in all countries. There is no reason why the Chinese should not also think of preferring to consume locally.

Measures taken by Tesla that have yet to show their effects

In the call following the publication of Tesla’s Q1 2020 results, it was said that production costs in China were starting to fall as a result of the production line experience curve and that the prices of the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range would fall to make the vehicle eligible for the new state subsidy rules we were talking about.

There is clearly not enough hindsight to assess the effects on sales of such measures, but we understand that these are measures taken to maintain the pace of sales in China. Tesla has sold 19705 Model 3 since the beginning of the year according to the CPCA.

Source: CNBC

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