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New Tesla registrations in California nearly halves in fourth quarter - data

Jan 15 (Reuters) - Tesla Inc’s overall vehicle registrations nearly halved in the U.S. state of California during the fourth quarter, according to a Dominion Cross-Sell report, which collates data from state motor vehicle records.

The massive drop comes as tax credit for Tesla buyers ended in 2019. It had fallen to $3,750 at the start of the year and had halved to $1,875 in July.

An existing $7,500 U.S. tax credit for electric vehicles (EVs), which allows taxpayers to deduct a part of the cost of buying an electric car, phases out over 15 months once an automaker hits 200,000 cumulative EV sales, which Tesla hit in July 2018.

The report released on Wednesday showed registrations in California, a bellwether market for the electric-car maker, plummeted 46.5% to 13,584 in the quarter ended December 2019, from 25,402 in the same period a year earlier.

Model 3 registrations, which accounted for about three-fourth of the total, halved to 10,694.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

“One can assume that Tesla has hit peak performance in the U.S. because they have not exceeded their 2018 results for five months now,” said Shane Marcum, vice-president of Cross-Sell.

The new data comes nearly two weeks after Tesla beat Wall Street estimates for annual vehicle deliveries and met the low-end of its own target, sending shares to a record high in a vindication for Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk after a few turbulent years.

Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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