Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Elon Musk and Tesla Have A Big Problem With China (TSLA)

 When she isn't promoting Poles and the Polish brand, see here, a Mr. Smithski:

I'm guessing third-generation North London. 

Or in today's Further Reading post where she notes: "Obituary for an internet security saviour.", That would be Daniel Kaminsky, a very important person in the history of finding and solving a very big problem. And someone whose surname is also the basis of Izabella's feminine adjectival surname (I looked it up).

—when she isn't promoting all things Polish, she also has a pretty good nose for news. Which may explain the Financial Times editorship.

All of which brings us to Mr. Musk's potentially insurmountable problem, also commended to our attention via today's Further Reading post

From the Chinese Communist Party's outwardly directed mouthpiece, Global Times, April 27:

Tesla 'brakes' in China over image crisis, despite record Q1 earnings

While releasing record first-quarter earnings on Monday (US time), Tesla CEO Elon Musk avoided any specific mention of the Chinese market, in an apparent attempt to brush its public relations crisis in China under the carpet - a notable sharp contrast to his previous high-profile emphasis on the Chinese market.

The revenue generated in China was not made public until Wednesday, which shows that China revenue increased by 238.1 percent in the first quarter amid customer's quality complaints. With revenue totaling $3.043 billion, China is now Tesla's second biggest market, taking up about one third of the brand's total revenue in the first quarter. 

In comparison, the US, Tesla's current biggest market, saw its revenue totaling $4.424 billion in the first quarter, accounting for 42.58 percent in Tesla's total revenue, down from 46.23 percent in the same period last year. 

That reflected a delicate and sensitive time for the US-based automaker, as it faces a reputational challenge in one of its most crucial markets over suspected quality issues of its cars and a widely criticized public relations strategy. 

Tesla is still betting big on the Chinese market. But its sales in China are doomed to experience a sharp fall in the second quarter and its global sales could also be affected, analysts warned. 

In the first quarter, total revenues rose 74 percent year-on-year to $10.39 billion. Tesla also set records for production and deliveries.

During the earnings release, Tesla said that it expects its Shanghai Gigafactory "will continue to increase quarterly production through the year."

Over 90 percent of the components are now sourced domestically in China, which cuts costs and improves production efficiencies, Tesla said, adding that its exports to Europe and the Asia-Pacific region are progressing as planned.

 "It is undeniable that Tesla has widespread recognition in the Chinese market, especially in first-tier cities. The company's fans are buying into its luxurious brand image and avant-garde intelligent system," independent car analyst Feng Shiming told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

But that image is in serious trouble and the recent protest at the auto show was a watershed, analysts said, with one comparing its impact to "braking a speeding car." ....


Keeping in mind the fact Global Times, like the inwardly directed Xinhua, prints nothing that isn't approved by the ruling CCP, a message is being sent.

And either Tesla and Musk are being set up for a shakedown, money, IP, whatever, or the government has gotten as much technical information out of Tesla as they think they need and are getting ready to toss the company aside. 

Combine the GT story with this video from their Twitter feed, April 19:

And a series of headlines that CNBC has reported:
January 20, 2021
Tesla Model 3 reportedly explodes in Shanghai parking garage
March 19, 2021
Chinese military reportedly restricts use of Tesla cars among personnel
April 22, 2021
Tesla branded as ‘arrogant’ in China as pressure mounts on the electric car maker

And it sure looks like Tesla is being set up.
And that we are a long way from August 1, 2020: "Elon Musk says ‘China rocks’"

TSLA $697.00 down $7.74. It was up a buck-fifty when I started typing, sorry about the 30 WPM.