Tesla’s Sales Drop, a Sign That Its Grip on the E.V. Market Is Slipping – 24 Global News | Latest International Breaking News Today

Tesla’s Sales Drop, a Sign That Its Grip on the E.V. Market Is Slipping – Latest International Breaking News Today

Tesla raised fresh questions about its command of the market for electric cars, and the leadership of the company by Elon Musk, after it reported a surprising drop in car sales during the first three months of the year while other automakers gained ground.

The company said it delivered 387,000 cars worldwide in the first quarter, down 8.5 percent from 423,000 vehicles in the same period last year. This was the first time Tesla’s quarterly sales have fallen on a year over year basis since the pandemic started in 2020. The sales figures were also significantly lower than the estimates of Wall Street analysts who had expected a modest increase.

The reduced deliveries are the latest sign that Tesla’s dominance of the market for electric cars is slipping. The company’s shares have fallen more than 30 percent this year — including a steep drop on Tuesday — because investors are concerned that the company is not doing enough to respond to intensifying competition.

In China, Tesla faces BYD and dozens of other rivals with ambitions to expand worldwide. In Europe, established carmakers like Volkswagen and BMW have introduced more compelling battery-powered models. And in the United States, sales of electric cars are not growing as fast as they were a year ago.

Tesla rivals have continued to report sales increases. BYD said on Tuesday that it sold about 300,000 electric vehicles, up 13 percent from the same period a year earlier. The company also sold 324,000 plug-in hybrid vehicles in the first quarter, up 15 percent from last year.

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BYD and other Chinese automakers have introduced new models rapidly, often undercutting Tesla on price. Those companies are also competing with Tesla in markets other than China by exporting more cars to Europe, Southeast Asia and Latin America.

Kia, based in South Korea, said Tuesday that its sales of electric vehicles in the United States more than doubled in the first three months of the year compared with a year earlier after it introduced a new large sport-utility vehicle, the EV9.

Tesla pioneered mass-market electric cars, but its lineup is aging. Tesla’s only completely new model since 2020 is the Cybertruck, a futuristic pickup that went on sale in limited numbers last year. The least expensive version that Tesla says it can deliver this year starts at around $80,000, limiting its appeal to affluent early adopters.

Rivian, whose R1 pickup competes with the Cybertruck, said its sales, including of the truck and its two other models, rose 70 percent in the quarter, to 13,600 vehicles.

Tesla is working on an electric car that would cost around $25,000, but the model is not expected to go on sale in large numbers until 2026. In the meantime, Tesla remains dependent on the Model Y S.U.V. and the Model 3 sedan for most of its sales.

The company has repeatedly cut prices, but analysts say the strategy has lowered its profits without doing enough to stimulate sales. The company has recently modestly raised the prices of some cars in the United States and China. The Model Y starts at nearly $45,000 before federal and state tax breaks, after an increase of $1,000 announced this week.

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The quarterly sales figure shows Tesla managers “they need a real sales strategy and can’t rely on cutting price alone,” Gary Black, managing partner of the Future Fund, an investment firm, posted on X.

Mr. Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, has not given a clear indication of how the company plans to regain momentum. At the same time, his polarizing statements and endorsement of right-wing conspiracy theories have alienated many of the left-leaning customers who are most likely to buy electric cars.

Raphaelle Cassens, a Los Angeles resident, gave up her leased Tesla Model Y last year and replaced it with a leased electric BMW i4. Mr. Musk was one reason she switched, she said.

“Honestly, I don’t like him as an individual at all,” said Ms. Cassens, who is a registered Democrat but described herself as nonpartisan. She also said that she received poor service from the company. “The attitude from the company definitely reflects the owner,” Ms. Cassens added.

Tesla’s stock was down about 5 percent on Tuesday morning.

-24 Global News | Latest International Breaking News Today
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