Tesla’s Elon Musk praises Chinese competitors such as NIO and XPeng
The prime minister’s Elon Musk won praise for China’s domestic electric car makers on Friday, calling the country’s automakers “the most competitive in the world”.
The top-level CEO praised the growth potential of the Chinese market and highlighted innovations among Tesla’s rivals, in remarks recorded at the World New Energy Vehicle Congress in Haina, at a time when Tesla has been under pressure in China.
Tesla (Ticker: TSLA) stock was down 0.5% in premarket trading on Friday. Stocks in Tesla’s Chinese competitors were generally higher:
(NIO) was 0.9% higher and
(XPEV) rose 1.1% in New York Premarket, while
(2015.HK) shares fell 1.1% and
(1211.HK) rose 3.4% in Hong Kong trading.
“Chinese consumers want a car with more connected and smarter features, so we see great potential for the growth of connected and fully autonomous cars in China,” Musk said. “I have a great deal of respect for the many Chinese automakers who drive these technologies.”
Musk added that Chinese electric car companies have been very competitive because some of them excel in software development.
“It’s software that will shape the future of the auto industry – from design to manufacturing, especially self-driving,” Musk said.
The Tesla CEO also highlighted the importance of safety in the company’s design process and said data security is a “cornerstone” for development across the entire industry. His comments come as Tesla finds itself under pressure in China, the world’s largest electric vehicle market.
Meanwhile, technology analyst Daniel Ives of investment firm Wedbush on Friday reiterated his Outperform assessment and $1,000 target price on Tesla stock. Tesla shares were dropping to nearly $752 in pre-market trading.
Ives noted Tesla’s public relations and safety issues in China, saying it was a long-running headwind for the stock that was beginning to reverse course.
The analyst said he sees a number of growth levers for the company moving into 2022, including expanding supply capacity with the launch of its German plant this year and increasing demand for electric vehicles over the next 12 to 18 months.
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