Electric Car Sales Fall for First Time After China Cuts Subsidy

From Bloomberg News

September 2, 2019, 11:06 PM PDT

  • Sales drop 14% in July to about 128,000 vehicles: Bernstein
  • Slowdown highlights the effect of government subsidies

Customers look at a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S electric vehicle at the company's showroom in Hong Kong.

Customers look at a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S electric vehicle at the company’s showroom in Hong Kong.

Photographer: Billy H.C. Kwok/Bloomberg

Global electric-car sales fell for the first time on record in July after China scaled back purchase subsidies, highlighting the role government assistance is having on the burgeoning market.

Monthly sales worldwide fell 14% to about 128,000 plug-in passenger electric vehicles, Sanford C. Bernstein said in a report Tuesday. Sales declined in China and North America, while rising in Europe.

Screenshot 2019-09-03 20.26.27

Source: Sanford C. Bernstein

Growth in China, the biggest producer and market for electric vehicles, is slowing down as a reduction in EV subsidies and a cooling economy weigh on consumers’ buying decisions. China’s government scaled back funding for individual purchases of new-energy vehicles starting June 26 to encourage carmakers to focus on product innovation.

Read the full article here.

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mario lento
September 4, 2019 10:25 pm

Great start, let’s stick a fork in it.

Reply to  mario lento
September 4, 2019 11:18 pm

It’ll catch fire.

Reply to  Phaedo
September 5, 2019 2:52 am

This will be the coup-de-grace for Tesla. Thankfully.

Stewart Pid
Reply to  Greg
September 5, 2019 6:16 am

Projected sales for Tesla aren’t that bad for Q3 … no growth but not falling. Check this link out

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Stewart Pid
September 5, 2019 5:11 pm

“…no growth but not falling…” is not what Tesla needs. They need a big Sept.

Bryan A
Reply to  Greg
September 5, 2019 6:59 am

Porsche has a new Electric Model, at $156,000 a copy sales will likely sag behind Tesla’s dismal returns

Reply to  Bryan A
September 5, 2019 7:10 am

Porsche can get away with it because they can claim the cars are built for speed, and with the insta-torque electric cars can accelerate very fast. The company is all about speed.

michael hart
Reply to  Bryan A
September 5, 2019 8:18 am

I would also be more trusting of Porsche’s ability to supply a car with reasonable build quality, reliability, and after-sales service & repair.

Tesla simply won’t exist as a stand alone company in a few years time or less. I would not buy one of their cars unless I could easily afford to write off the entire purchase as money down the drain to buy an expensive toy.

Reply to  Bryan A
September 5, 2019 10:28 am

I would be interested to know HOW Porsche has organized the batteries. Are they installed in a self-immolation organization like the DEFECTIVE Tesla battery array? I highly doubt it. Funny thing … I haven’t heard of any other EV’s burning like Tesla …

Reply to  Bryan A
September 5, 2019 11:08 pm

Porsche can get away with it because they can claim the cars are built for speed, and with the insta-torque electric cars can accelerate very fast.

An interesting set of races:


Personally, anything beyond 0-60 mph or 0-70 mph seems wasted to me. So even the 1/4 mile is mostly waste:


Note that both the Model 3 Performance and the McLaren 570s are 95-100 mph at 1/8th mile. (!)

Reply to  Greg
September 5, 2019 7:21 am

OMG StewPid !! Those EV-shill projections show a sharp INCREASE in Sept. Tesla sales worldwide … haha ha ha ha. And their projections are so full of disclaimers … including the admission that their prior sales projections were wildly WRONG (far less than predicted). This is so consistent with EV fanboy “insider” groups … they live in fantasy world, and try like hell to sound like a legitimate org. Ha! They’re NOT. EV sales will be steadily FALLING as the market has reached saturation. There are just so many “eco-virtue-signaler’s” with $$$€€££¥¥ to burn.

Don’t be Stew Pid, Stewart.

Stewart Pid
Reply to  Kenji
September 5, 2019 2:34 pm

Kenji be careful calling anyone stupid. Anton has a pretty decent spread sheet and has necessarily estimated Sept data and has back loaded the quarter because that is what Tesla does with it’s shipments. Why the qtr is back loaded I don’t know. As u said Anton was low last qtr and the Tesla fanbois are calling him out on it again with his flat qtr over qtr numbers. However at this time I don’t think Tesla sales are cratoring. At least Anton is completely transparent with his numbers and countries with missing data.
Just as an asside there is yet to be any discounts and scrambling by Tesla to move cars in the final weeks of the qtr and that would imply there is a lack of inventory to stuff the pipeline with.
However we will know for sure in 4 weeks.

J Mac
September 4, 2019 11:04 pm

EV’s aren’t selling as well when buyers have to pay full price sans subsidies from other peoples money?
You don’t need an uncertified computer model or statistical shenanigans to explain that.

Reply to  J Mac
September 6, 2019 1:53 am

An electric car is a nice city toy. Try to do a holiday trip like I did of 3 weeks and 11,000 km . So now I need 2 cars. Most people can’t afford 2 cars.

September 4, 2019 11:42 pm

China is attempting to reconcile a market and command economy, with the dynamic development of the former, and the control they crave of the latter. Essentially the hybrid model adopted in America and the rest of the Western world.

Joel O'Bryan
September 4, 2019 11:46 pm

Europe still has plenty of EV-green believers to fleece.
So it’s still a growth market there on suckers in Germany.
Tesla may not play as well there, but BMW and Audi will do plenty of sheering.

Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
September 4, 2019 11:47 pm

If you are a bloke looking to impress some cute young virtue signallers and get into their pants, buying one of these “climate change” friendly electric cars could be a very, very smart move.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
Reply to  Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
September 5, 2019 12:51 am

Pity the subsequent intense athletics in the back seat can’t be used to charge up the batteries…

Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
September 5, 2019 1:48 am

Maybe that could be incorporated into the design. If its rock’n, it’s charg’n. Don’t interrupt.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
September 5, 2019 5:12 pm

Tesla current and planned models S, 3, X, Y…S3XY. Can’t tell me it isn’t by design.

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
September 5, 2019 12:36 pm

The VERY best intra-auto athletics I ever experienced was on the bench front seat of my parents 1970 Olds cutlass 442 … and when the cops showed up at lookout point, I had the POWER to move on out

Reply to  Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
September 5, 2019 6:09 am

“bloke looking to impress some cute young virtue signallers and get into their pants”

Krudd forgot to mention that said bloke is in danger of spending the rest of his life pleasing said “virtue signallers”.

Year after year,
month after month,
week after week,
day after day,
hour after hour,
minute after minute,
second after second being told what to purchase, install, maintain, and use of the newest virtue signalling alleged environmental devices or practices.
• Toilets that never work properly.
• Faucets that take forever to fill small buckets.
• Meatless Mondays through Sundays.
• Dry tasteless fake meat products.
• Say goodbye to clothes dryers and hello to clotheslines.
• Cycling to work, no matter distance or weather.
• Ultra low wattage lights that barely glow.
• Government deciding that your land is controlled by their navigable water rulings.
• Government forbidding your cutting so much as a walking stick.
• Rallies with long past “cute young” things in drizzling rain gluing themselves to tarmac.
• etc. etc. etc.

Enjoy your getting “into their pants” doom…

PS You might want to verify “cute young virtue signallers” physical equipment, before getting into their pants.

Bryan A
Reply to  ATheoK
September 5, 2019 9:14 am

If they’re glued to the Tarmac, getting into their pants might be easier…Captive Audience

Court de Lion
September 5, 2019 12:43 am

Love it, Krudd Gillard! I’ve a detached house, front drive and garage so am hot to trot. Ach , dammit, already married to a lovely lady.

September 5, 2019 1:15 am

No surprise here. Whenever Governments subsidise something you know they are selling snake oil.

September 5, 2019 1:58 am

When they stop thinking about “”Saving the planet”” and instead do
something about the expense of the replacement battery, then the
electric car may take off.

The hybrid seems the best of a rather poor lot.


Reply to  Michael
September 5, 2019 5:15 am

The story that batteries will soon get cheaper is looking a bit wonky right now. The Lipo batteries I use for my remote control planes have rapidly increased price recently. A popular size I was buying for A$11.00 each less than 2 years ago, were advertised on special sale at A$26,50 each last week. Same battery, same supplier.

It looks like the promised economies of scale have proved to be a diseconomy of shortage of materials.

Reply to  Hasbeen
September 5, 2019 8:13 am

Right. I said it before to battery sycophants here — batteries aren’t going to get cheaper, they will get even more expensive.

Roger Knights
Reply to  beng135
September 5, 2019 2:07 pm

The price of nickel has doubled in the past month, thanks to Indonesia’s statement that it will ban the export of nickel ore. (It wants to refine the ore itself.) Tesla uses lots of nickel in its batteries; If the price rise holds (it probably will fade a bit) Tesla could have to pay $500 more for its batteries.

old construction worker
September 5, 2019 3:17 am

Governments should never, never engage in corporate welfare. And you wonder how politicians be very wealthy.

September 5, 2019 4:16 am

I just wonder does this China policy change have anything to do with the intense trade war?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  bonbon
September 5, 2019 7:41 am

“intense trade war”

Well, China is losing a lot of money so that might be one reason they want to reduce spending on electric vehicles, although I don’t think the subsidies amount to that much in the Big Picture.

The trade war is only intense in China and in the Western News Media, who are trying to use it to bash Trump. Average Americans are little affected by Trump putting tariffs on China. The most affected Americans are the farmers but Trump has already given them $28 billion dollars over the last two years to keep the farmers solvent while the trade war goes on, and Trump will continue giving the farmers as many billions of dollars as they need to fight off the Chinese ploy of targeting American farmers.

The money Trump is giving the farmers is from the money he is collecting from China in tariffs. Trump is collecting tens of billions of dollars from the Chinese, so he has plenty more money to help the farmers if that need arises.

And we should keep in mind that it was not Trump who atarted this trade war. The Chinese have been in a trade war with the United States for decades, unfairly siphoning hundreds of billions of dollars out of the U.S. economy. Trump is putting a stop to this theft. Naturally, that is going to cause some disruptions, mostly in China.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
September 5, 2019 11:25 am

Tom says:
The trade war is only intense in China and in the Western News Media, who are trying to use it to bash Trump. Average Americans are little affected by Trump putting tariffs on China. The most affected Americans are the farmers but Trump has already given them $28 billion dollars over the last two years to keep the farmers solvent while the trade war goes on, and Trump will continue giving the farmers as many billions of dollars as they need to fight off the Chinese ploy of targeting American farmers.

+100 — this is exactly correct.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
September 5, 2019 12:47 pm

Trump’s DEMOCRATIC (Republic) election interrupted the planned monetization of the US Govt. by a bevy of Deep State operatives who planned to run a Jeffrey Epstein fashioned blackmail scam. SHE had a treasure chest of secrets to hide.


Reply to  Tom Abbott
September 5, 2019 5:03 pm

The tariffs are not being paid by the Chinese. The (American) purchasers pay them. Think of them as a federal sales tax.

Reply to  Fish
September 5, 2019 10:37 pm

Hardly. I don’t purchase items with jacked up prices. That’s the beauty of capitalism … competitors will move manufacturing to a country which doesn’t exploit the market through intellectual theft, wanton ecological destruction, and a tactically devalued currency. These are all monopolistic actions which require severe regulation. Free Market Capitalism requires constraints to prevent monopolistic activity.

September 5, 2019 5:50 am


“The UK new car market declined by 1.6% in August, but there was a surge in electric car sales in the month, according to data released by the SMMT.
The SMMT data showed a nearly five-fold increase for zero emission electric cars and they took a record 3.4% market share in August.”

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
September 5, 2019 9:19 am

5 fold eh…
So they sold 50 cars instead of 10…Hmmmm

Let me know when they surpass just the Ford F Series P/U Truck annual sales (909,300 in 2018)

Paul Penrose
Reply to  griff
September 5, 2019 9:51 am

Just proves there’s a sucker born every minute.

Roger Knights
Reply to  griff
September 5, 2019 2:11 pm

Sure there was a surge, because it was the first release of the Model 3 there, so there was pent-up demand. It’ll fade. (British steering wheels are on the right side, hence the delay.)

Reply to  griff
September 5, 2019 6:21 pm

Griff left out the key data as usual, cheery picking what he wanted. It wasn’t 50 cars yeah very low number 3147 and note the bit about hybrid plug ins.

Zero emission cars saw the biggest percentage growth, up 377.5%, to 3,147 units as new models and some pent up demand boosted registrations, while 4,014 hybrid electric cars also joined UK roads, an uplift of 36.2%. However, the decline in plug-in hybrid registrations – which have suffered from withdrawn government grants – continued, down 71.8% to just 907 vehicles.

The funny part is the number of manufacturers trying to sell into a %3 market.

27 hybrids, 27 plug-in hybrids, and 24 zero emission battery electric and hydrogen models

There is no way they can all survive in that market.

September 5, 2019 5:51 am

also this:

“Global electric car sales were up 3% YoY in July, reaching 1.9% market share. The slowdown was due to China’s post subsidy slump.2

that’s EV sales UP!

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
September 5, 2019 9:21 am

and slowing from subsidy reductions/eliminations

Paul Penrose
Reply to  griff
September 5, 2019 9:53 am

Really, a whole 1.9% market share? Break out the bubbly! Not. After all the billions spent on subsidies for EVs, that’s all they’ve done? In my book that’s a huge fail.

Bryan A
Reply to  Paul Penrose
September 5, 2019 4:37 pm

They could increase their sales data 5 fold if they just included Golf Cart Sales…

Reply to  griff
September 5, 2019 11:54 am


We need higher growth of rich buyers with demand for more tax credits. Never mind the battery issues or safety. Follow the money.

Roger Knights
Reply to  griff
September 5, 2019 2:40 pm

From your Sept. 3 link:
“US electric car sales were not available on EV sales in July 2019. US electric car market share is 1.8% YTD in 2019.
“Note: The above sales include light commercial vehicles.”

I suspect that its fuigures are therefore less accurate than the ones reported today and shown in the chart near the top of the page.

A C Osborn
September 5, 2019 5:59 am

Although talking about Chinese market the stats are for Global Sales, 128 for a whole month is very low.
Many manufacturers have single models selling more than that.

September 5, 2019 7:24 am

Will there be enough specialty metals available to manufacture all of the batteries required? Saw the article, “Tesla: The Growing Nickel Problem” by Bill Maurer yesterday (Sept. 4).

September 5, 2019 7:33 am

Don’t want to throw cold water on this report, but to be fair, this report should also show tear-over-year sales of conventional auto sales.

September 5, 2019 8:02 am

About a month ago, I received an email from Consumer Reports, requesting me to email Colorado Dept. of Transportation (CDOT) to require that 20% of new vehicles sold in Colorado be electric vehicles. I’m not sure how CDOT plans to do that, but evidently they OK’ed it. I wish Consumer Reports would stick to its mission to help consumers buy the best products at reasonable prices, and keep its hands out of environmental activism. (I do not subscribe to Consumer Reports).

Rod Evans
September 5, 2019 8:07 am

Apart from the negative environmental impact purely electric vehicles have, I quite like the idea of them. The only qualification I would make is, those who buy them should pay the full price for them. I do not want or expect to pay for my neighbours virtue signal.
Meanwhile back in the real world, where vehicles have to earn their keep, we should be celebrating the positive impact petrol and diesel engine vehicles have had on the greening of the planet.
Every time I fill up, I am reminded of the benefit I am providing for the environment and all creatures therein as I hand over yet another massive tax payment plus a small sum to the fuel companies. Those taxable fuel providers allow government to empty our pockets at the pumps. In return the government provide us with inadequate, potholed, restricted speed, traffic light controlled roads, for the right to rob us every time we fill up. The owners, of electric grant funded vehicles have that robbing tax delight to look forward to.
Make no mistake, your time to pay will come.

Joe Armstrong
September 5, 2019 10:02 am

Lesson learned year’s ago: There is an infinite demand for a free service.

Several years ago, I was interviewing for a job with one for the leading manufactures of inverters for wind and solar energy systems. I was stuck by the wild swings in demand from one country to another from year to year. When I asked, it turn out that demand was largely dependent on the subsidies being offered by the governments for installing systems.

September 5, 2019 1:00 pm

how do these stats compare to other vehicle sales?

obviously when you take away subsidies, a commodity suffers slump. but the slump is only as big as its difference from equivalent goods that are not subsidized.

September 5, 2019 2:18 pm

Be sure and use German software to determine your battery charge life

September 6, 2019 9:38 am

I am writing an article about the electric cars’ broken dream.
Ten years ago, UK committed itself to 18% electric vehicles by 2019. The generous subsides made profitable for start-ups to create golf-cars like and to sell them mostly to the Euro-lover Eco-fanatics Londoners with the pocket full of daddy’s subsides. Including these fancy London-oriented cars plus the true electric and hybrid, my figures point to 4% to 5%.
Have some of you a link to some UK 2009 article celebrating the smartness of the government donating billions of tax money to the program?
I also found very difficult to determine the true number of the 2019 UK circulating vehicles. Circulating means to go on the road and not to stay in a saloon, in a factory, in a depot of some virtue-signaling company/government department or dumped.
Thank you.

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