Tesla quarterly deliveries fall for the first time in nearly four years

April 2, 2024 – 7:44 AM PDT

(Reuters) – Tesla (TSLA.O) posted a fall in quarterly deliveries for the first time in nearly four years and missed Wall Street estimates, a performance some described as “ugly” as price cuts failed to stir up demand in a highly competitive market.


The Elon Musk-led company’s shares fell 5.3% in early trading and were on track to lose about $30 billion in market value.

Despite the fall, which adds to a nearly 30% slide in value so far this year, Tesla’s market capitalization was still well above the combined valuation of Toyota Motor (7203.T), Mercedes-Benz (MBGn.DE) and Porsche (PSHG_p.DE).

Tesla handed over about 386,810 vehicles in the three months to March 31, down 20.2% from the prior quarter. It produced 433,371 vehicles during the period.

Wall Street on average had expected Tesla to deliver 454,200 vehicles, according to 18 analysts polled by Visible Alpha.

“The discrepancy between deliveries and production implies ~46k in incremental inventory, which confirms that beyond the known production bottleneck, there may also be a serious demand issue,” Deutsche Bank analyst Emmanuel Rosner wrote in a note.

The electric automaker’s deliveries fell 8.5% from a year ago. The last time it posted a sales fall was in the second quarter of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the automaker to shut down production.

Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives called the results “an unmitigated disaster … that is hard to explain away” and termed it as a seminal moment for Tesla.

“This was a train wreck into a brick wall quarter for Musk & Co,” he wrote in a research note.

The company attributed the drop in volumes to its efforts to prepare the Fremont factory in California to handle increased production of the updated Model 3 and shutdowns at its Berlin plant due to the impact of the Red Sea conflict and an arson attack.

Tesla has been facing intense competition in China from local players including market leader BYD (002594.SZ) – which overtook the U.S. company as the largest EV maker in the fourth quarter – and new entrant Xiaomi (1810.HK).

However, Tesla managed to steer ahead of BYD (1211.HK), which sold about 300,000 battery-electric vehicles in the quarter.

Gene Munster, managing partner at Deepwater Asset Management, called the quarter “ugly” for Tesla, blaming high interest rates and cooling excitement around EVs. However he remained upbeat on the company’s long-term prospects.

“I still believe Tesla is on the right track and this storm will pass,” Munster said on social media platform X.

CEO Musk’s persona, his tilt to right-wing politics and his public statements are also turning away some potential Tesla customers in the United States, according to surveys and experts.

Tesla delivered 369,783 Model 3 and Model Y, and about 17,000 units of other models, including Model S sedan, Cybertruck and Model X premium SUV.

In January, Tesla also warned of “notably lower” sales growth this year as it focuses on the production of its next-generation electric vehicle.

Meanwhile, California-based EV maker Rivian Automotive (RIVN.O) missed market estimates for quarterly vehicle production on Tuesday as the firm transitions to new suppliers for fresh materials for its vehicles.

Rivian reported a sequential decline of 3% for first-quarter deliveries, a smaller drop than the company’s previous forecast of 10% to 15% in February.

Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru, Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco, additional reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Anil D’Silva

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