Tesla China Sold ~53,000 Made-In-China Vehicles In November, Crushing Claims Of Dropping Demand

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For the month of November, Tesla China sold 52,859 made-in-China vehicles, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA). This includes the export sales of 21,127 vehicles. Before getting into those numbers, I want to go back a few more months — to June — when many major media outlets were predicting Tesla’s failure at selling cars in China. This piece is focused on showing a bit of context and sharing the story of Tesla’s success in China over the past few months. Grab some coffee and let’s dive in.

June 2021

In June, Tesmanian founder Vincent Yu shared news of Tesla’s sales in China. These numbers were higher than the previously forecasted 9,800 sales for May 2021, when news website The Information reported that Tesla’s sales in China were down by 50% in May and that a Tesla crisis in China was continuing.

The article claimed that Tesla’s orders in China fell by half in May compared to April, but it seemed that this so-called person with knowledge of the data gave the writer some bad information. Reuters reported that Tesla’s made-in-China vehicle sales grew by 29% from April to May. And the real number of Tesla’s vehicle sales in total was 33,463, well above 9,800. You can read more about this here.

July 2021 “Tesla’s Demise”

In July 2021, Bloomberg, CNN, and several others reported on Tesla’s fall from grace. CNN noted that it was doing worse in China than anyone thought and Bloomberg interviewed a former Chrysler executive who became the CEO of Automobility, Ltd., Bill Russo. Russo said that Tesla’s experience was a warning shot for the company to stay between the lines and not be so flamboyant in its success. The article also mentioned a Model 3 brake failure which was later proven to have been a publicity stunt that the owner created and later apologized for. As for the sales, Tesla sold 33,155 vehicles for the month of June and CNN predicted doom and gloom.

You can read more about that here.

August 2021 Chinese Media Reports Tesla’s Sales Expected To Grow

Here, we had a new quarter and, like clockwork, there was a massive anti-Tesla FUD campaign put on by the mainstream media. The focus was on Tesla’s “lack” of demand in China and CNN claimed that Tesla’s sales in China had “cratered.” CNN also suggested that Tesla was losing ground in China and used July’s sales data as a reason for this. I pointed out that we shouldn’t let these headlines deceive us into thinking that there’s no demand for Tesla in China. I also said that we should keep an eye out for how CNN and other media sites report on Tesla’s sales in September.  You can read more here.

While the US media was hyping up a “steep sales decline” for Tesla in China, the Chinese media reported the opposite and predicted that Tesla China’s made-in-China vehicles were expected to grow. The Global Times interviewed Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the CPCA, who said:

“Tesla’s sales drop in the Chinese market was because it needs to ensure adequate supplies abroad where the demand was huge.”

Also, for the month of July, Tesla sold 32,968 China-made vehicles. Read more about Dongshu’s interview here.

September 2021

In August, Tesla proved the naysayers wrong and we see the beginning of what Cui and The Global Times predicted starting to happen. Tesla China sold 44,264 made-in-China vehicles in August. Tesla also launched a cheaper version of the Model Y at that time.

October 2021

In September, Tesla China sold 56,006 made-in-China EVs, which was a 27% month-on-month increase. In this article, I reported on the sales and pointed out that we should pay attention to how the outlets which were previously postulating about Tesla’s end were reporting on these new numbers. I pointed out that at the time, it was only October, so we should give CNN a chance to touch on those so-called cratered sales and wait to see if September’s numbers were as interesting as August’s were. As you can see, those numbers were very interesting.

November 2021

Tesla sold 54,391 vehicles in China in October. In addition to that, there was a Giga Shanghai ceremony held for a new construction phase. Tesla’s exports from China were also much higher than expected, and this suggested an increase in Tesla’s production rate.

December 2021

It is now December and we have the numbers for November’s Tesla China vehicles sales. Last month, Tesla China sold 52,859 made-in-China vehicles. For now, CNN hasn’t even covered these new sales numbers (as of this writing), but that could change. Will it? Probably not, but there is a chance and I would like to be proven wrong. It’s only fair for media organizations to report the good if they’re going to report the bad.

Reuters reported that as a whole China’s vehicle sales numbers have fallen for the seventh straight month and noted that this was due to the chip shortage. Chen Shihua of China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers told Reuters a bit of good news about the acceptance of clean energy vehicles.

“Consumer acceptance of new energy vehicles continues to rise. The market has shifted from policy-motivated to demand-driven.”

Hundreds of Thousands of Tesla Sales in Half a Year

Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai export vehicles, courtesy of Tesla.

Well, there you have it. EVs are in high demand, and if you look at Tesla’s sales numbers over the last three months, you can clearly see that Tesla has plenty of consumer demand. To recap Tesla China’s sales numbers from May through November we have:

  • May: 33,463 made-in-China vehicle sales
  • June: 33,155 made-in-China vehicle sales
  • July: 32,968 made-in-China vehicle sales
  • August: 44,264 made-in-China vehicle sales
  • September: 56,006 made-in-China vehicle sales
  • October: 54,391 made-in-China vehicle sales
  • November: 52,859 made-in-China vehicle sales

This is just my opinion here, but I don’t think CNN or the others who don’t typically report on Tesla unless it’s something highly negative will report on the high sales numbers. It’s only the low ones that they seem to favor reporting on.

In a month or so from now, we’ll be reporting on both Tesla China’s December sales numbers as well as the sales numbers for the entire year. With this in mind, note that I predicted in 2019 when Tesla China first started building its factory in Shanghai that it was going to be a game-changer for Tesla’s sales. This was during a time when the FUD about Tesla was intense and critics and conspiracy theorists alike were claiming either that there was no actual factory in China (remember the “mud field” that a Business Insider reporter claimed?) or that it would fail once built. In 2019, I wrote:

“From the mud field to the plug, there is a story of growth, determination, and persistence despite opposition. The plug is when the first car built at Tesla’s Shanghai gigafactory plugs in, and it symbolizes success and another major milestone achieved.”

Tesla hasn’t failed. And we can see from the above numbers just from May through November that Tesla is rockin’ it.

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Johnna Crider

Johnna owns less than one share of $TSLA currently and supports Tesla's mission. She also gardens, collects interesting minerals and can be found on TikTok

Johnna Crider has 1996 posts and counting. See all posts by Johnna Crider