Tesla China momentum ‘a positive’ as company navigates new competition

Tesla Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai General Assembly (Source: Tesla)

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) had a strong showing in China in May, giving Deutsche Bank a reason to call the company’s performance “a positive” for the company moving forward. However, the Wall Street-based firm has convictions about Tesla’s performance moving forward, according to a new note to investors, as the company will likely face some pushback from Government action and new, local competition.

Figures from the Chinese Passenger Car Association (CPCA) revealed a strong performance in May for Tesla. The Model Y all-electric crossover led the charge ahead of its sibling Model 3 sedan. The numbers catalyzed a sigh of relief from Tesla investors, especially those who read The Information’s report claiming orders had halved to below 10,000 units collectively in China in May. The report was met with criticism and skepticism, including some words from CPCA Secretary General Cui Dongshu, who claimed that May orders wouldn’t have affected May sales figures. Dongshu was correct, as CPCA figures indicated a 29% increase in sales in May compared to April.

The CPCA figures alleviated many concerns, especially those of Deutsche Bank analysts, who revealed in a new note to investors this morning that the strong figures showed healthy demand in both China and Europe, along with hints that Tesla sold its entire Model 3 production capacity in the last two months.

Tesla China sales rise 30% in May, definitively debunks reports of weak demand

The note said (via David Tayar):

“We view May’s data as a positive for Tesla, not only disproving concerns around collapse in demand, but also showing that between local retail sales and exports, Tesla essentially sold its entire Model 3 production capacity in both April and May, and Model Y is ramping up fast in China.”

While The Information’s report attributed the weak order figures to “public outcry and government criticism,” Tesla is likely not facing too much of an issue with these two theories, at least for now. However, Deutsche Bank’s note also detailed some concerns that investors may have in the long-term spectacle of Tesla’s Chinese demand.

The firm wrote in its note:

“At the same time, it is unlikely completely eliminate investor concerns that consumer sentiment around Tesla could be losing momentum in China, partly as a result of government action, but also with the rise of local competition. In fact, the article from the Information was supposedly about new orders, rather than sales, so any weakness wouldn’t necessarily have been seen in May sales yet.”

Interestingly, this aligns with Dongshu’s comments about the Information’s report, where the CPCA executive said:

“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.”

Tesla has continued a tradition of being one of the most popular automakers in China since its introduction in the market in early 2020. Tesla was the most popular manufacturer in China in 2020, and the only car that has managed to outsell the Model 3 and Model Y is the Wuling HongGuang Mini EV that sells for only $5,000.

Disclosure: Joey Klender is a TSLA Shareholder

Tesla China momentum ‘a positive’ as company navigates new competition
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