Investor's Corner

Tesla stock (TSLA) maintains strength amid Chinese tariff rollbacks, Q4 Model 3 push

Tesla shares (NASDAQ:TSLA) appear to be keeping their momentum on Tuesday, trading as high as $369.80 after the opening bell. The electric car maker continues to show momentum amidst news of upcoming tariff rollbacks in China, as well as what could very well be another Model 3 push for the end of the fourth quarter. 

Reports emerged on Tuesday stating that China is moving to cut import tariffs on American-made vehicles entering its shores. Due to the US-China trade war, vehicles from America such as Tesla’s electric cars are weighed down by a steep 40% import tariff. Citing people familiar with the matter, a Bloomberg report has noted that China is poised to cut import taxes to just 15%, following a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Argentina.

The publication’s sources noted that the specifics of the two countries’ deal have yet to be finalized. That said, the idea of reduced import tariffs has been warmly received by Wall Street. Other American carmakers such as GM and Ford both rose about 2% in Tuesday’s pre-market, and Tesla opened the day well into the green.

Tesla has maintained a strong brand in China despite its sales being weighed down by the ongoing trade war. The company has adopted strategies to protect its presence in the country, even announcing last month that it would “absorb” some of the 40% import tariffs to make its vehicles more affordable to Chinese buyers. That said, a 15% import tariff for the company’s electric cars would likely herald a big boost for Tesla’s sales in the country.

Tesla’s performance in a Chinese market with a 15% import tariff has been teased earlier this year. Prior to the start of the US-China trade war, after all, China’s Customs Tariff Commission under China’s cabinet announced that it would reduce car import duties from 20-25% to just 15%. Tesla promptly adjusted the prices of its vehicles after the announcement. The reaction of the market was notable, resulting in a Tesla gallery in Shanghai clearing out its entire Model X 75D inventory in 24 hours.

Apart from seemingly better headwinds in China, Tesla is also starting what could be its end-of-quarter Model 3 push. Elon Musk has been promoting the company’s vehicles on Twitter, even encouraging buyers to wish to acquire vehicles that were from canceled orders, as well as cars used as display units. Musk even noted that a full refund awaits those who would not be able to take delivery of their vehicles by the end of the year.

Tesla has shown a tendency to adopt an aggressive push for the Model 3 in the final months of a quarter. The company did this in Q1 when it was trying to hit a production rate of 2,500 Model 3 per week, and it did the same in the second quarter when the target was raised to 5,000 per week. In the third quarter, Tesla’s end-of-quarter push was characterized by what Elon Musk described as “delivery logistics hell” and a remarkable community-driven effort to help hand over vehicles to new owners.

This Q4, Tesla appears to be setting the stage for year another delivery blitz leading all the way until the end of December. Elon Musk previously noted that the company had acquired trucking capacity to avoid the delivery bottlenecks it faced in the third quarter. In a recent tweet, Musk further emphasized Tesla’s generous return policy for its vehicles, in what appears to be yet another gesture encouraging potential electric car buyers to purchase the company’s vehicles. 

Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.

Tesla stock (TSLA) maintains strength amid Chinese tariff rollbacks, Q4 Model 3 push
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