Analysts seized on Tesla’s poor sales in China as one of the key reasons for the auto maker’s disappointing showing in its most recent quarter.
Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk acknowledged that Tesla’s fourth-quarter sales in China were unexpectedly weak. The company has identified the U.S. and China as its two biggest markets.
One by one, equities analysts questioned Tesla executives about the Chinese market during an earnings conference call Wednesday afternoon.
A Reuters report Wednesday said Tesla sold only about 120 cars in China during January, way below the company’s targets.
And heads have rolled. Telsa’s chief marketing officer for China, June Jin, left the company last week just five months after she started in September 2014, Sina news reported on Wednesday citing unnamed sources.
Musk has said he’s ready to fire more executives in China if the market isn’t quickly put on a path toward “positive long-term cash flow,” the Reuters report said.
A big part of the problem in China is a perception that there aren’t enough charging stations to make keep new electric car owners on the road.
Musk said on the conference call Wednesday that even members of Tesla’s own China sales team were telling people that it’s hard to find a charge in China.
Tesla is planning to accelerate the buildout of its charging station infrastructure in China to help consumers feel more confident, the company said.
Tesla believes the lack of demand in China wasn’t general. In Taiwan, at least, demand is strong, Musk said.