Tesla shares extended their recent run of declines Thursday, pulling the stock closer to the lowest levels since late April, as headline risks for the world’s leading electric-vehicle maker continue to mount.

Tesla  (TSLA) , which has shed more than $240 billion in market value this year, has been hammered by a slump in global EV demand, concerns about the impact of aggressive price cuts on profit margins, and reports of renewed regulatory pressure tied to its claims about its driver-assistance software.

The stock reversed some of those declines late last month when Chief Executive Elon Musk won a key endorsement for the rollout of its driver-assistance technologies in China. However, the company has seen some of its issues resurface over the past week.

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Bloomberg, in fact, reported on May 9 that Tesla is ramping up the pace of job cuts in China, its most important market, after the group disclosed a plan to reduce its global workforce by 10%, or around 14,000 jobs.

Tesla’s China challenges have intensified this year as domestic rivals like Nio  (NIO)  and BYD  (BYDDY)  continue to carve into its overall market share, and consumer demand slides amid a tepid post-COVID economy.

Data from the China Passenger Car Association indicated earlier this week that Tesla’s April sales in China fell 18% from a year earlier to 62,167 units, down 30% from March. BYD sales, meanwhile, surged nearly 50% to 312.048 units.

The group is also reportedly idling its Gigafactory in Berlin, which was closed for several days late last year following supply chain disruptions in the Red Sea. The company has tied the move to environmental protestors.

<img class="caas-img caas-lazy has-preview" alt="Tesla is facing a series of challenges in China, its most-important market, and is reportedly accelerating the pace of its recent job cuts.

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” data-src=”https://www.socialmediaasia.com/wp-content/uploads/2c2aa5161a443ccb4220398decce552b”><img alt="Tesla is facing a series of challenges in China, its most-important market, and is reportedly accelerating the pace of its recent job cuts.

STR/Getty Images

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Tesla is facing a series of challenges in China, its most-important market, and is reportedly accelerating the pace of its recent job cuts.

STR/Getty Images

Beyond Tesla’s demand issues, reports have suggested that the U.S. Department of Justice is probing claims made by Musk and the company that may have overstated the abilities of its Full-Self-Driving software, a key plank in its longer-term growth story.

DoJ and NHTSA probes weigh

Tesla’s FSD technology does not render cars fully autonomous, and the company urges drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and pay strict attention to the road.

Reuters reported that the DoJ is investigating whether Tesla committed securities fraud or wire fraud by overhyping its capabilities. Musk called the report “lies” on his verified X social media account.

Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is probing the cause of around 20 accidents linked to Tesla’s standard Autopilot system, which was subject to the company’s biggest-ever recall in December.

Related: Tesla shares soar as Elon Musk returns from China with FSD ‘Game Changer’

Another component of Tesla’s recent rally, which was tied in part to its vow to introduce a new lineup of cars within the next year, was also tested this week by Nio’s move to launch a lower-cost EV, the Onvo, priced at around $35,000.

China-based Xpeng  (XPEV) , which partners with Volkswagen  (VWAGY) , is also reportedly working towards the launch of a $21,000 EV called Mona.

Full-Self-Driving key to Tesla growth outlook

Musk told investors last month that its new lineup will include “more affordable models, will use aspects of the next-generation platform as well as aspects of our current platforms,” and will be produced on existing manufacturing lines.

That assurance helped offset a weak first-quarter earnings report and Tesla’s first quarterly delivery decline in four years. The report came amid broader concerns that Tesla would move away from its traditional carmaking roots in favor of a business model focused on autonomous driving, robotics, and AI-related technologies.

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Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Andres Sheppard, who initiated coverage of Tesla last week with an overweight rating and a $230 price target, sees the group’s autonomous driving plans as key to its near-term prospects.

“While the EV industry has been going through several challenges, we believe Tesla benefits from future upside from its Full-Self-Driving software (plus upcoming robotaxi segment), the introduction of lower-priced models, a global manufacturing footprint with economies of scale, and the industry’s largest charging infrastructure,” Sheppard said.

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The state-backed China Daily newspaper, in fact, reported on May 8 that Musk proposed to launch a fleet of robotaxis in Shanghai as part of a broader test of its advanced driver-assistance software.

Musk himself posted on X that an FSD package for the Cybertruck, which was launched late last year, is only a “few months away”.

Tesla shares were marked 0.7% lower in premarket trading to indicate an opening bell price of $173.50 each, a move that would extend the stock’s year-to-date decline to around 30%.

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