The data comes from the Hong Kong Transport Department, which reported 2,939 first-time Tesla registrations in March. Sales had been climbing dramatically, likely in part in anticipation of the expiration of the incentives, which aren't likely to return until March 2018. After all, as Quartz points out, a Tesla Model S 60 costs just $72,900 with tax breaks in Hong Kong, but, $118,400 on its own.
Tesla doesn't seem too concerned about it, though. While the company told Quartz in a statement that, "When the Hong Kong Government reduced the tax exemption for electric vehicles and increased the cost of our cars by nearly 100 percent, it's to be expected that demand will be impacted in the period immediately following the change," it expects that market to remain "very strong."
In a similar tone, MarketWatch quotes Tesla as saying its business "does not rely on" government support, pointing to its success in China despite tariffs. "At the end of the day, when people love something, they buy it," Tesla's statement reads.
Sure, Tesla is a desirable brand, and the imminence of the rebate elimination helps to explain the spike before the crash. But zero cars in what was recently a healthy market would cause any normal person or company some concern. Luckily for Tesla, the high-demand Model 3 is now in production, with deliveries beginning soon. Incentives come and go, and over time, a bad month (or longer, we'll see) in Hong Kong will probably be overshadowed by the company's future gains in the rest of the world.