Tesla shares are falling. Latest EV news including BYD, NIO, Li Auto, GM, Ford.

Tesla shares fell in early trading Monday, heading for a bleak start to the week. Profit-taking in comparable electric vehicles and production data from China seem to be worrying investors.

The EV maker’s shares fell 1.4% to $199.80 each in premarket trading, as futures hit the market


retreated 0.1% and those on the

Nasdaq Composite

were about flat.

On Monday morning, several news outlets reported that Tesla sold about 60,400 cars from its Shanghai factory in February. The reports cite data from the China Passenger Car Association that is released early each month.

That’s a decline of about 19% year-on-year. However, in 2024, the Chinese New Year holiday fell in February; last year it fell in January. In January and February, Tesla sold 132,000 cars from its Shanghai factory, down about 6% from 2023.

BYD reported February deliveries last week. Sales of all-battery electric vehicles fell about 1% year-over-year in January and February. BYD had a relatively stronger January and a relatively weaker February.

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For the overall sector, sales of battery EVs and plug-in hybrids are expected to reach around 450,000 units in February, down about 9% from a year ago.

January and February are two of the weakest months of the year for new car sales, making it difficult to draw conclusions about how this year will go. Citi analyst Jeff Chung expects Chinese sales of battery EVs to grow about 16% year-over-year, to about 7 million units in 2024.

Despite the growth, competition is still fierce. Tesla and others have lowered prices in China by 2024. On Friday, Tesla began offering Chinese car buyers an insurance subsidy as an added incentive, according to a Chinese-language post on the company’s Weibo social media account. BYD also recently launched the latest version of its best-selling Yuan Plus crossover with a price 11.8% lower than the model it replaces, Reuters reported citing a Wiebo post.

Elsewhere in the sector, investors are investing in competitor Li Auto

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may have cashed in on last week’s big gains by taking profits. It ended Monday down 10.7% on the Hong Kong stock exchange, and U.S.-traded American depositary receipts fell 6.4% in the premarket. In Monday trading, ADRs were up about 55% over the past month, and up about 25% over the past week, responding positively to better-than-expected gains.

Last month after Monday trading, Tesla shares rose about 12%, better than the Nasdaq’s 4% gain over the same period.

Another reason for Li Auto’s share price drop on Monday could be consumer disappointment with MEGA, its first all-electric model, which was launched on Friday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In other news, court documents filed just before the weekend revealed that the lawyers who won the lawsuit to void the large pay package for Tesla CEO Elon Musk had asked the president to give them $5.6 billion in Tesla shares to cover their legal costs, MarketWatch reported.

Shares of other Tesla peers were also on the move. NIO ADRs fell 1.9% in early trading, shares of Lucid Group fell 0.3%, shares of Rivian Automotive fell 0.4% and shares of Ford Motor and

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General Motors was down.

Tesla shares are far from their 52-week high of $299.29, which was reached last summer.
Trading volume of 82.2 million shares at the end of Friday remained 27.93 million below the 65-day average volume of 110.13 million.

Write to Rupert Steiner at rupert.steiner@barrons.com

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