Tesla’s Top Exec Heads Back to China as Sales Slump

is sending executive Tom Zhu back to amid slumping sales and increased competition in the world's largest electric vehicle market. Zhu, who was promoted to senior vice president of automotive in April 2023, previously led Tesla's entry into China and oversaw the company's Asia Pacific operations, Bloomberg reports.

Zhu's Role and Promotion

Tom Zhu, one of Tesla's three named executive officers, was promoted to senior vice president of automotive in April 2023. In this role, he oversaw global production, sales, deliveries, service, and the company's factories from Tesla's Austin headquarters. Prior to this, Zhu was based in China, heading Tesla's Asia Pacific operations.

Tesla's Slumping Sales in China

Tesla's deliveries from its Shanghai factory, which include domestic sales and exports, fell 18% in April compared to the previous year, with 62,167 vehicles delivered. This decline occurred despite an estimated 33% increase in overall new-energy passenger vehicle wholesales in China, which reached around 800,000 units.

Increased Competition in China's EV Market

Tesla faces growing competition in China from companies like BYD Co., which offers a wide range of vehicles, including the popular budget Seagull hatchback. New entrants, such as tech giant Corp., have also made a splash, with more than 76,000 orders for its SU7 EV. In response to the increased competition, Tesla slashed prices across its range in late April to boost sales.

Musk's Surprise Visit to Beijing

In an effort to revive Tesla's fortunes in China, CEO made a surprise visit to Beijing in late April. During his visit, Musk received in-principle approval from government officials to deploy Tesla's driver-assistance system in the .

EVXL's Take

Tesla's decision to send Tom Zhu back to China highlights the importance of the Chinese market for the company and the challenges it faces in maintaining its position as a leading EV manufacturer. As competition intensifies and sales slump, Tesla must adapt its strategies to remain competitive and appeal to Chinese consumers. Zhu's experience and success in leading Tesla's entry into China him well-suited to navigate these challenges and help the company regain its footing in the world's largest EV market. The outcome of Tesla's efforts in China will have significant implications for the global EV industry and the future of sustainable transportation.

Photo courtesy of Tesla.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of EVXL.co, where he covers all electric vehicle-related news, covering brands such as Tesla, Ford, GM, BMW, Nissan and others. He fulfills a similar role at the drone news site DroneXL.co. Haye can be reached at haye @ evxl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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