The latest figures from Europe and Japan show that Tesla’s new car registrations are falling sharply. Norway has always been an important market for Tesla with its aggressive incentives for electric vehicles. In February 2019, the number of Tesla new cars registered in the country reached 1,016. By February 2020, however, there were only 83 registered.
Tesla’s sales in the Netherlands were down 43% year-on-year. Therefore, it cannot be said that Tesla’s delivery focus has shifted from Norway to the Netherlands.
There may be three reasons why Tesla’s new car registrations have plummeted in Europe:
First, many observers suspect that electric cars from Volvo, Volkswagen, Audi and others may have dampened demand for Tesla cars. Audi e-tron delivered 1,133 vehicles in February, making it Norway’s best-selling electric car of the month, far outpacing its competitors, according to the report.
Second, Tesla is always adjusting its delivery method so that its customers can enjoy tax credits as much as possible. For example, the first Model Y will be delivered in Canada, where buyers will still receive sales incentives.
Finally, Tesla is used to increasing car deliveries in the last month of each quarter. It is likely that sales in Norway and the Netherlands are more constrained by undersupply than by falling demand. This may be because demand for Tesla cars in the U.S. and Canada is so strong that Tesla has delivered fewer vehicles to Europe.
In addition to Europe, Tesla has also suffered setbacks in its entry into the Japanese market. In 2019, Japan imported only 1,378 electric vehicles. Although 90 per cent of them are Tesla cars, that still means it sells just over 1,000 vehicles in Japan for the full year.
This may not be surprising. For decades, U.S. manufacturers have complained that Artificial trade barriers have been put in place in Japan, making it difficult for their cars to sell there. In the 1990s, GM’s Saturn brand announced a big move to Japan, but it sold only a few hundred cars in japan.
Some might argue that bulky American cars are not the models that Japanese consumers want when they cross the streets of congested cities, and they don’t fit the narrow streets of most European cities, which is why Japan pushes small cars, such as the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. By U.S. standards, these cars are small and have an engine displacement limited to 600 milliliters or less.
Still, with the effects of the new coronavirus, Tesla’s car sales in China have slowed sharply, and Tesla may want to see more deliveries to Europe and Japan to boost its first-quarter numbers. But given recent sales trends, this seems unlikely.