Tesla’s rumored sales slump in China doesn’t seem to be a worry of Cui Dongshu, the Secretary General of the Chinese Passenger Car Association. Cui said that recent claims of brake problems shouldn’t affect Tesla’s sales in China, where the company has found mainstream success since first delivering its vehicles in the country in January 2020.
Yesterday, reports of a halving of Tesla’s sales in China ran a riot on the automaker’s stock. Unsubstantiated claims from supposed internal data suggested that Tesla’s net orders dropped to 9,800 vehicles in May, slightly more than half of what the automaker did the month previously with 18,000 orders. Tesla stock plummeted after the reports.
However, Cui told Chinese media outlet the Global Times that he doesn’t necessarily believe that sales will be that low. While he does suggest that sales “won’t be less than 10,000 units,” Cui says that orders does not equal sales.
Cui commented (via Global Times):
“Placed orders cannot equal the sales number in one month. Usually, monthly sales are accumulated units of orders over previous months, so the immediate results in May might not truly reflect whether the recently reported accidents have had any real impact on Tesla’s sales.”
Cui suggests that if any real damage was done to Tesla’s demand in China, it wouldn’t be recognized until July or August.
Tesla has been forced to battle numerous reports of quality issues in China over the past several months. It all began at the Shanghai Auto Show when a woman claimed that her Model 3 had faulty breaks that caused an accident. The woman refused Tesla’s offer to have a third-party company inspect her car on the automaker’s dime, and continued to show up at various locations to harass the company. She even went as far as spraypainting her own car with the words “Tesla brakes failed me,” while parking the vehicle outside of a local Tesla showroom.
Even more stories of rumored parts failures plagued Tesla throughout April and May. However, many came forward and revealed that their vehicles had nothing wrong, and Tesla China’s legal team has held these parties accountable by making them issue public apologies. Unfortunately, it seems people are attempting to gain fame on Tesla’s behalf, but the automaker is having no parts of assisting people in getting their “fifteen minutes of fame.”
Rumors of lackluster sales figures in China in April have also made their way through the news. However, Tesla has made several changes to its supply chain, especially when talking about the delivery of its vehicles. In January, Tesla started exporting China-built Model 3s to Europe to handle increasing demand, which contributed to declining figures in China. However, the vehicle still remains the second-most popular EV in the country, only trailing the highly-affordable Wuling HongGuang Mini EV that starts at around $5,000.
Tesla currently builds the Model 3 and Model Y in China at its Shanghai-located production facility.