Musk's Brash Communication Hits Tesla Shares, Nio And Chinese Peers Weather Lockdowns, GM Pushes Bolt Sales: EV Industry Week Highlights

Zinger Key Points
  • Elon Musk sent Tesla shares tumbling with his ultimatum to employees to return to the office and an email regarding job cuts.
  • Nio, XPeng and Li Auto saw their sales inflect higher in May following a COVID-lockdown hit April

Electric vehicle stocks retreated along with the broader market in the week ending June 3, with Tesla, Inc. TSLA leading the declines. The broader market paused for a breather after the previous week's back-end rally. A strong non-farm payrolls report released on Friday reignited Fed rate hike fears and sent stocks into a tailspin.

Here are the key events that happened in the EV space during the week:

Musk Spooks Tesla, Markets: Tesla's outspoken chief executive officer Elon Musk proved the undoing of the company's stock with his curt communications to employees, initially with his stance on return to the office and later with his warning of job cuts.
Musk sent two separate emails to employees this week, threatening to fire those who are reluctant to return to office. The logic behind the mandate is that great products can't be made by merely "phoning in."

He dropped a second bombshell with another internal memo regarding the freezing of hiring at Tesla worldwide and plans to cut 10% of jobs. This time, the CEO blamed the proposed actions on a "super bad feeling" about the economy. One consolation, however, is that the axing applies to only salaried employees and the company will continue to hire hourly employees for building cars, assembling battery packs and solar installations.

Among other things, lead times for Tesla's Model Y vehicle increased notably over the past few days, resulting in speculation that it may have to do with either a slow ramp at Giga Berlin or delay in shipments from Giga Shanghai.

Musk also disclosed through Twitter that the AI Day, which was originally scheduled for August 19, is being pushed back to October 30. The reason given was the time required to come up with a working prototype of the company's Optimus humanoid robot.

Cathie Wood's Ark Invest bought more Tesla shares this week, as it lapped up $1.3 million worth of stock on Tuesday.

Related Link: Is Elon Musk Risking Loss Of Talent With Tesla's Return To Office Push?

Chinese EV Trio's May Deliveries Better Than Feared: U.S.-listed Chinese EV manufacturers Nio, Inc. NIO, XPeng, Inc. XPEV and Li Auto, Inc. LI reported deliveries for May that showed both year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter increases. All three commented that the situation, precipitated by the COVID-19 lockdowns in China, is improving, but cautioned that deliveries remain constrained due to supply and logistics challenges.

Warren Buffett-backed BYD Company Limited BYDDF continued to report robust sales, with May deliveries rising 185% year-over-year to 53,349 units.

GM Slashes Chevy Prices: General Motors Corporation GM has opted to get competitive by pushing its Chevrolet Bolt EV, which was hit by a huge recall due to fire risk. The company lowered the prices of the 2023 model Bolt EV and Bolt EUV by $5,900 and $6,300, respectively.

Ford Focuses On Cutting Flab: Ford CEO Jim Farley said at an investor conference this week that the company needs to revamp its business model and reduce spending if it wants to stay competitive in the EV market. Farley said the company should not rely on advertising to push sales of its hugely popular models, such as the F-150 Lightning.

Nikola Founder Opposes Stock Sale: Nikola Corporation NKLA founder and former chairman Trevor Milton voted against a proposal by the company to authorize new shares for potentially raising capital, according to reports. This prompted the company to adjourn the annual shareholder meeting to June 30 in a bid to mobilize support for the proposal.

EV Stock Performances for The Week:

Related Link: Why This Tesla Analyst Thinks Worst May Be Behind For The EV Pioneer

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