Tesla China-made Model 3 vehicles are seen during a delivery event at its plant in Shanghai, east China, Jan. 7, 2020.

Aly song | Reuters

BEIJING – Tesla’s sales in China rose in May from the previous month, but did not match March levels, according to the China Passenger Car Association.

Tesla sold 33,463 electric cars in May, 29% more than 25,845 units in April, data released late Tuesday showed. The number still fell short of March’s 35,478 car sales.

The recovery in sales comes despite mounting negative press and regulatory scrutiny from Tesla based on customer reports of brake failures. The auto industry has also cut production due to a global shortage of chips.

Tesla shares fell 0.25% during the New York trading session overnight. The share has fallen by just over 14% in the year to date.

In May, Tesla shipped 11,527 vehicles from its Shanghai factory, fewer than the 14,174 cars reported for April, data from the Passenger Car Association showed. Figures for March were not available.

Total sales of all-electric cars more than doubled compared to the previous year and rose by 186% to 162,000 units in May, the association announced. Some in China’s auto industry have expressed doubts about the accuracy of the association’s numbers.

While Tesla’s cars are among the top 10 new energy vehicles sold in China, local startups like Nio also did well in May, according to the report. Hybrid cars are among the new energy vehicles.

The report said Volkswagen accounted for nearly half, or 48%, of new energy vehicle sales from mainstream joint ventures with overseas brands.

However, the report says luxury electric cars from Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi are not yet seeing a huge surge in customer purchases.

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