Tesla Wholesale China Shipments Surged 150% in March Suggests Data

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Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) announced its vehicle deliveries for the first quarter of 2020 earlier this month, with the figures showing that the company had broken previous records for the first three months of the year in terms of vehicles manufactured and delivered. While the latter bit naturally created optimism among investors, the former created worries of the company holding excess inventory.

Tesla's performance in its three international operating segments has painted a mixed picture, with analysts now turning to China to take stock of the company's performance in the post-coronavirus world. The Chinese electric vehicle market took a huge hit in February when vehicle registrations in the country dropped by 72% year-year-year. At the same time, Tesla accounted for roughly 16% of the total vehicle registrations in China. Now, as the sun sets in the East, data for Tesla's vehicle shipments to wholesalers in China is available.

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Tesla Triples Wholesale Shipments In China As Overall Shipments In Country Rise

Today's data is the courtesy of Mr. Cui Dongshu, who is the secretary-general of China's Passenger Car Association. Mr. Donghsu, in an online meeting, has stated that in the month of March, Tesla delivered roughly 10,160 units, as the company more than doubled the number of vehicles making their way out of the Shanghai Gigafactory 3 and into wholesaler's storerooms or other storage facilities.

Out of the 3,958 vehicles that Tesla delivered to wholesalers in February, roughly 2,200 (or 55%) were accounted for in vehicle registrations. Therefore, if this percentage sticks in March, readers need to keep in mind that market demand for a Tesla in China just might be far below what the company expects.

Still, there is room for hope, as the electric vehicle manufacturers in the country as a whole are optimistic about consumer demand. The reason for this being that while the industry as a whole shipped roughly 13,000 vehicles to wholesalers in February, this figure grew by 262% to approximately 47,000 in March - as suggested by CPCA secretary-general.

Units February 2020 March 2020 % Change
Vehicle Registrations Tesla 2,284 N/A N/A
Vehicle Registrations Total 14,693 N/A N/A
Vehicle Shipments Tesla 3,958 10,160 156
Vehicle Shipments Total ~13,000 ~47,000 262

 

The Company's Share Of Total Wholesale Shipments In China Drops As Other Manufacturers Pick Up Pace

As can be seen in the data compiled above, Tesla accounted for roughly 30% of China's total electric vehicle wholesaler shipments in February. This percentage has now dropped to 22% in March, following a general resumption of activities in the country following province and city-wide lockdowns observed at the start of this year following the outbreak of the coronavirus in the Wuhan, Hubei.

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Naturally it's not wise to draw any concrete conclusions about the state of consumer demand in China for a Tesla vehicle at the onset of the post-coronavirus environment in the country. As populations there start to breathe freely, those in North America and Europe are bearing the economic and social brunt of the fallout from COVID-19.

Tesla has been forced to cull production in its Gigafactory in the United States and reduce operations in the manufacturing facility operated in partnership with Panasonic Corporation in Storey County, Nevada.

Once data for vehicle registrations in March for China and Europe starts pours in, we'll be able to anticipate the extent of the drop in sales that Tesla might have to face this year. Wall Street analysts, for their part, have expressed pessimism about Tesla's ability to deliver more than 500,000 vehicles this year.

Heading into the market open, the company is struggling to make gains and recover the 3% drop to $537 that took place soon after trading commenced yesterday. At the time of writing, Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is trading at $545 in the pre-market, losing $3 over yesterday's close. The share price is up 30% year-to-date as a massive rally to a price of $917 in mid-February let Tesla cushion the earth-shaking crashes that hit major stock in the United States and all around the world in the middle of last quarter.

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