Tesla Delivers Record 405,278 Cars in Quarter But Misses Target

(Bloomberg) — Tesla sold less than analysts expected last quarter. It fell short of expectations, despite the company’s unusual step of offering hefty incentives in its two largest markets.

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The company has delivered 405,278 vehicles to customers in the past three months, below the average estimate of 420,760 compiled by Bloomberg. The total was a record quarter for Tesla, which opened two new assembly plants last year but is still short of its target of increasing deliveries by 50%.

After CEO Elon Musk predicted a “magnificent” year-end for this year, Tesla went ahead with cuts in car prices and production in China before offering a $7,500 discount in the U.S. Worries about rising interest rates, inflation and other economic headwinds, along with caution over the Twitter antics Mr. Musk now owns, have pushed Tesla’s stock down 37% in December. , which plunged his 65% last year.

“We believe Tesla is facing a significant demand problem,” Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi, who has a sell rating on the stock, wrote in a report Monday. “We believe Tesla must either lower its growth targets (and run factories below capacity) or maintain and possibly increase its recent global price cuts to squeeze margins.”

Read more: Tesla stock has had its worst year’s not cheap

Tesla’s shipments increased 40% to 1.31 million units last year, falling short of the 50% compound annual growth rate the company expects to achieve over the next few years. Production increased 47% to 1.37 million units.

The company produced 439,701 units in the fourth quarter, exceeding deliveries by 34,423 units. Tesla said it continued to move to a “more homogenous regional mix of vehicle manufacturing,” which led to a further increase in vehicles in transit at the end of the quarter.

“Tesla is selling cars and the auto industry is slowing down,” Gene Munster, managing partner at Loop Ventures, said in a telephone interview. The gap between deliveries has widened since last quarter.”

Tesla’s quarterly shipments are commonly seen as a barometer of EV demand, as the Austin, Texas-based company leads the way in charging battery-powered vehicles.

The company has a long tradition of doing all it can to get cars into customers’ hands at the end of each quarter, with top executives like design chief Franz von Holzhausen opening its Southern California distribution center on New Year’s Eve. I’m helping you.

Tesla doesn’t break down sales by region, but the US and China are the biggest markets, with 95% of 2022 sales coming from Model 3 sedans and Y crossovers.

The company manufactures Models S, X, 3, and Y at its Fremont, California factory. The Shanghai plant produces the Model 3 and Y, and in the first half of last year we started delivering Model Y from our newest plants near Austin and Berlin.

Musk delivered Tesla’s first Semi truck to PepsiCo Inc. in December, but the company didn’t report delivery of the model in its quarterly report. The automaker has separately announced an Investor Day scheduled for March 1 to discuss long-term expansion plans, next-generation vehicle platforms, capital allocation, and other topics.

— With help from Craig Trudell.

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