Tesla delivers record 405,278 cars in quarter but misses target

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(Bloomberg) — Tesla Inc . delivered fewer vehicles than analysts expected and missed estimates last quarter, despite taking the unusual step of offering strong stimulus in its two biggest markets.

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The company delivered 405,278 vehicles to customers in the last three months, below the median estimate of 420,760 compiled by Bloomberg. While the total was a quarterly record for Tesla, the company opened two new assembly plants last year and fell short of its target of increasing shipments by 50%.

After CEO Elon Musk predicted an “epic” end to the year, Tesla proceeded to cut vehicle prices and production in China, then offered $7,500 in rebates in the United States. Concerns about rising interest rates, inflation, and other economic headwinds — along with alarm over Musk’s now-defunct Twitter antics — sent shares of Tesla is down 37% in December and 65% over the past year.

“We believe Tesla faces a significant demand problem,” Toni Sacconaghi, a Bernstein analyst with a sell rating on the stock, wrote in a report Monday. “We believe that Tesla must either reduce its growth targets (and run its factories below capacity) or maintain and potentially increase the recent decline in prices globally, pressuring margins.”

Read more: Tesla stock had its worst year ever. This does not make it cheap

Tesla grew deliveries 40% last year to 1.31 million, below the 50% compound annual growth rate the company says it aims to achieve over several years. Production increased by 47% to 1.37 million.

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

“Tesla is selling cars and the auto industry is going down,” Gene Munster, managing partner of Loup Ventures, said by phone. “They are still struggling with logistics, and the gap between production and deliveries has widened since the last quarter.”

Tesla’s quarterly delivery numbers are widely seen as a barometer of electric vehicle demand as the Austin, Texas-based company has taken the lead in electric cars. -batteries.

The company has a long tradition of working hard at the end of each quarter to get cars into the hands of customers, with top executives such as design chief Franz von Holzhausen helping out at a delivery center of Southern California on New Year’s Eve.

Tesla doesn’t break out sales by region, but the US and China are its biggest markets, and 95% of sales in 2022 were the Model 3 sedan and Y-crossover.

The company manufactures the Model S, X, 3 and Y at its factory in Fremont, California. The Shanghai plant produces the Model 3 and Y and began shipping the Model Ys from its newer plants in Austin and near Berlin in the first half of last year.

While Musk delivered the first Tesla semis to PepsiCo Inc. in December, the company reported no deliveries of the model in its quarterly statement. The automaker announced separately that an investor day is planned for March 1 to discuss long-term expansion plans, next-generation vehicle platform, capital allocation and other topics.

–Assisted by Craig Trudell.

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