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Electric cars in China

Tesla shares close at record high after sales triple in China

US electric carmaker sold 11,095 Shanghai-made Model 3s

Tesla has cut the price of Model 3, shown here at the Auto China 2018 motor show, twice in China since January this year.    © Reuters

PALO ALTO, U.S. -- Tesla's stock closed at an all-time high on Monday after data showed the U.S. automaker's sales in China bounced back in May.

Earlier in the day, the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) reported that Tesla delivered 11,095 made-in-China Model 3 vehicles last month -- more than triple the 3,635 sold in April and breaking the previous record of 10,160 units in March. 

Tesla was the best-selling new energy vehicle in China last month. 

The May sales data pushed Tesla's stock price to $949.92, up 7.26% at Monday's market close, beating the previous closing record of $917.42 set on Feb. 19.

With Tesla's main manufacturing facility in Fremont, California, having been closed for most of the past two months, the electric carmaker is relying heavily on China for both production and sales.

"Strong Model 3 demand out of China remains a ray of light for Tesla in a dark global macro [environment]," said Dan Ives, managing director at Wedbush Securities.

China has been early in reopening its economy, allowing some businesses to operate from April, while the rest of the world is only now beginning to restart economic activity after monthslong lockdowns.

The Chinese auto market bounced back to growth in May.

Sales of passenger vehicles in China reached 1.61 million units last month, up 1.8% from the previous year and an increase of 12.6% from April, CPCA data shows.

In early May, Tesla lowered the price of its standard-range Model 3 sedans in China for the second time this year in order to qualify for the country's newly announced government subsidies for electric vehicles. 

Soon after, the company also lowered the price of the more expensive Model S and Model X cars sold in China, following a price cut for all three vehicles in North America at the end of May.

"Price cuts both in the U.S. and China could further stimulate demand as the macro starts to improve and the lockdown conditions ease globally," Ives said.

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