Tesla’s push into the international market with its Model 3 electric sedan could see a notable boost, thanks in part to some unexpected support from Chinese regulations and what appears to be widespread support for EVs in the European region. With the Model 3 about to saturate the right-hand-drive markets, it appears that Tesla’s ramp of the vehicle is entering its later stages.
A recent update from Beijing stands to benefit the countries’ largest local electric car companies and Tesla, which is currently building a wholly-owned factory in Shanghai. In an announcement on Friday, China’s Ministry of Finance announced that it would be extending a sales tax break for battery-powered and hybrid vehicles. A change was expected to go into effect on Monday, but with the update in place, battery-powered and hybrid vehicles will still be exempt from a 10% sales tax until the end of 2020.
With the extension of the tax break, analysts from China have noted that strong brands in the EV sector, such as Tesla and local companies like Geely Automobile Holdings, SAIC Motor, NIO, and Xpeng Motors, would likely see benefits from the government’s adjustment. Tax break or not, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers expect New Energy Vehicle (NEV) sales in the country to increase by 27%, which would translate to around 1.6 million units over the course of 2019. If these forecasts prove accurate, China will set another sales record for its NEV initiative this year.
If Tesla starts producing the Model 3 at Gigafactory 3 later this year, the company could tap into the country’s growing NEV market. Tesla, after all, is considered a premium brand in the country, holding a reputation that is not too far from Apple. Tesla’s vehicles like the Model X have been considered as status symbols in the past, and this could ultimately benefit the Model 3, which offers a more affordable entry point into the Tesla ecosystem.
Apart from a potential boost thanks to China’s regulations, Tesla’s push into the European market also appears to be bearing fruit. Tesla conducted a massive end-of-quarter push in Europe last month, as part of its attempt to meet or even break its record in Q4 2018, when it delivered over 90,000 vehicles in one quarter. Data from Europe’s car sales in June 2019 show that Tesla’s delivery push might have paid off.
June’s sales from the European region are currently trickling in, and based on data from countries such as Norway and the Netherlands, where registrations surpassed 2,500 for the first time, Tesla appears to be increasing its reach. Denmark also saw 426 Tesla registrations, which is more than four times the total for all of 2018. In line with the company’s end-of-quarter push, almost a third of Denmark’s Tesla registrations were submitted in the last week of June. This influx of registrations is likely due to the Model 3, which is currently being shipped to the region.
Bloomberg Intelligence global autos analyst Kevin Tynan believes that Europe’s momentum could help the company, particularly as the company’s expansion in the US “stalls.” The analyst also expects Tesla to meet competition in Europe and China, as the company will have to challenge established local competitors. “Tesla’s global push will deliver expansion as the US stalls, but at great expense to margin. And dominance of the battery-electric vehicle market may not come as easily in China and Europe, as the company faces established hometown — and government — favorites there,” Tynan wrote.
Tesla’s Model 3 ramp has been the focus of the company for over a year. As Tesla starts its push into the RHD territories this quarter, and as the company prepares to manufacture the Model 3 in China, the later stages of Elon Musk’s play into the mass market could finally be at hand. Once the Model 3 ramp reaches its full fruition, Tesla could start its next, more ambitious push into the mainstream: the Model Y, which will compete in the competitive and lucrative crossover SUV market.