Tesla stock drops record after-sales in China, reports of production cuts

Tesla (TSLA) sold a record number of China-made vehicles in November, according to data released by the EV giant on Monday. However, multiple reports Monday said Tesla is also planning to scale back its EV production in China as demand appears to be faltering. Tesla stock plummeted on Monday.


The EV giant on Monday refuted the reports, calling untrue claims that it would cut its production in China.

The US-based global electric vehicle company sold 100,291 Chinese-made electric vehicles in November. That represents a roughly 90% increase year-over-year and a 40% increase compared to the 71,704 Tesla EVs sold in October.

Between January 2022 and November 2022, Tesla sold 655,069 Chinese-made vehicles, up 63% year-on-year.

Despite those increases, however, reports emerged Monday that Tesla will cut production at its Shanghai plant by as much as 20% as early as this week.

The prospects for demand in China have become less clear, even with a late October price cut and various other stimuli, as the company ramps up production to record levels. Tesla also exports a large number of Chinese-made electric vehicles, which are produced at its Shanghai plant. In October, 71,704 electric vehicles were sold by Tesla Shanghai, of which 54,504 were exported and 17,200 vehicles were delivered in China.

Tesla’s Shanghai plant had upgrades last summer that should increase production capacity to about 1 million units a year. However, Reuters reported in late September that Tesla planned to keep production at its upgraded Shanghai plant at about 93% of capacity by the end of the year.

Tesla shares fell 6.4% during trading on Monday.

Tesla stock: aging stock

The EV giant produces four electric vehicles: the Model S luxury sedan and Model X SUV, as well as the Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover.

In China, Tesla only sells the Model 3 and Model Y. China is now an EV rival BYD (BYDDF), Li car (LI) and no (NIO) all see increased sales as they introduce new model lines.

Other Tesla models — the Roadster, Semi, and Cybertruck (an EV pickup) — have been pushed back multiple times. According to Musk, the Cybertruck is on track for “early” production in mid-2023. Reuters has reported that mass production will begin in late 2023.

Tesla semi bulls

The conflicting news for Tesla in China, record sales and reports of a production cut, follows Thursday’s first Tesla Semi deliveries.

The long-awaited eighteen-wheel long-range electric freighter can travel an estimated 500 miles per charge with 82,000 pounds of cargo, according to Tesla.

The company also says the truck can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 20 seconds and charge up to 70% of its range in half an hour.

The first Tesla Semi Trucks are coming PepsiCo (PEP) in California. Pepsi had 100 electric vehicles on order when the Semi was first announced in 2017.

CFRA Senior Equity Analyst Garrett Nelson wrote on Friday that his firm forecast strong demand for the Tesla Semi.

“We’re bullish on demand for the Semi as TSLA ramps up production of the truck to 50,000 units in 2024 and sees significant appetite from large companies trying to reduce their carbon footprint,” Nelson wrote.

Semi-truck deliveries could mark a gain in a year when Tesla stock was mostly a loser. The stock price has fallen about 50% in 2022, falling to levels close to when the company was included in the S&P 500.

The pullback has come as analysts suspect demand for Tesla electric vehicles in China has eased. Musk’s recent purchase of Twitter also appears to have had a negative impact on Tesla stock.

Please follow Kit Norton on Twitter @KitNorton for more coverage.


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