Tesla’s China Exports to Be Quarterly Bright Spot, Barclays Says

Jul 07, 2014 4:59 pm ET

July 8 (Bloomberg) -- Tesla Motors Inc., the electric-car maker led by Elon Musk, should report second-quarter sales of its Model S that show China compensating for softer European demand for the sedan, Barclays Plc analyst Brian Johnson said.

The company will probably meet its forecast of delivering 7,500 of the cars during the quarter, said Johnson, who rates Palo Alto, California-based Tesla the equivalent of a hold. Achieving that goal will be the result of China-bound shipments, he said in a research note yesterday.

Initial quarterly delivery data from the Asian nation “demonstrate the increased importance that China will need to play in meeting Model S guidance for 2014 to compensate for apparently plateauing demand in Europe and North America,” Johnson said. “A solid debut in China appears to have compensated for a softening in Europe.”

Musk, 43, traveled to China in April to mark the start of deliveries of Tesla’s flagship sedan to the world’s biggest auto market. The company’s chief executive officer and biggest shareholder has said Tesla’s sales volume in China may match that of the U.S. as early as 2015.

The U.S. company may have delivered as many as 1,300 units in China during the quarter, Johnson said, citing Chinese media reports. Tesla hasn’t said when it will release second-quarter results.

Tesla fell 2.9 percent to $222.66 yesterday in New York. The stock has risen 48 percent this year.

Hollywood Crash

Separately, the carmaker is awaiting details of an investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department of a high-speed crash early July 4 in the West Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles involving a stolen Model S.

After eluding Los Angeles police officers, the driver struck other cars and smashed into a light pole that sheared the electric vehicle in two, according to the sheriff’s department. That damaged the car’s lithium-ion battery pack, which eventually began to burn.

At least seven people were injured in the incident, including the driver who stole the Tesla, the sheriff’s department said. The crash investigation was still at a preliminary stage and details weren’t complete, Sergeant Daniel Dail said in an e-mail yesterday. Tesla has offered assistance reviewing the vehicle’s data collection devices, he said, without elaborating.

Simon Sproule, a Tesla spokesman, said on July 5 that the company is eager to review the wrecked vehicle.

--With assistance from Libby Sallaberry McGowan in New York.