Looks like things aren’t as rosy as originally predicted for Tesla, at least not in China. The company’s sales were way below targets for January with only 120 vehicles sold and Elon Musk is not happy. He’s so not happy with the numbers that there’s a good chance some executives in China are going to be out of a job.
According to Reuters, the company will fall well short of its sales targets there, making Musk’s predictions that sales in China would exceed those in the United States early this year look doubtful. Musk had previously confirmed that fourth quarter sales in China were weak, so a weak January is a continuation of a troubling trend.
Two managers in China already resigned back in 2014 which may have been a good plan for the pair to avoid being fired outright, but Musk says they’ll fix their problems in China eventually. At the time that he confirmed sales were off, he also said he expected that by the middle of the year they’d have their issues worked out. A rough launch with fewer than planned retail outlets was part of the problem and that’s already been resolved.
Tesla has been having a rough go of it in general lately, adjusting its overall numbers for the Tesla Model S down from 35,000 units to 33,000. This is still an increase over the 22,477 delivered for 2013, but it’s certainly not where the company wanted its numbers to be at the end of the year.
All of this bad news means that Elon Musk is ready to take some definitive actions to turn things back in the right direction, with a harsh internal memo to employees making it clear that people would be demoted or fired if the situation did not improve. This applies not just to those in China, but to everyone who works for Tesla.
The company’s stock has also taken a hit as sales have slowed. Musk’s announcement that fourth quarter sales were lower than expected saw a 7% decrease in the stock’s value. All together, they’re looking at a 14% decrease in just the last 3 months with an 11% decrease for the year.
Adding to their troubles are low gas prices. This might be great for most of us who are happy to save a few dollars at the pump, but it’s not so great for encouraging people to get out of their traditional gas vehicles and into something electric.