Tesla temporarily closes China stores amid coronavirus fears.
The move comes as more than half of China has shut down in an effort to control the spread of a new coronavirus that has killed more than 500 people in the country. Citing public health concerns.
Apple said over the weekend it has closed stores in the mainland, through Feb. 9. Many other foreign brands operating in China have also temporarily suspended or limited their local business operations.
“From today on, Tesla stores are all closed throughout China. But I will answer questions online, around the clock. Online orders are still welcome. We suggest all of you stay home, and take good care of your health. – Tesla employee wrote in a post on messaging and social media app.
Tesla shares dropped more than 17% after a Tesla VP in China, Tao Lin, announced that cars initially scheduled for delivery to customers there in early February would be delayed due to the spread of the coronavirus.
In an effort to keep the virus under control, Shanghai has ordered local businesses not to resume work before Feb. 10, which means Tesla’s local factory is also temporarily shut down.
Tesla has 24 stores in mainland China and 1 in Shanghai from the last year. Closing stores is just one more indication of how the virus could affect Tesla’s operations this year.
Tesla reported better-than-expected results for the fourth quarter in an earnings, the numbers and news of progress on manufacturing in China helped drive Tesla shares sharply higher. After news that the coronavirus was affecting major automakers including Hyundai and Tesla, more intensely than first expected, some analysts began to downgrade their ratings on Tesla from buy to hold or sell.