This summer, Tesla’s electric vehicle delivery numbers fell short of analysts’ expectations despite a comparative delivery surge of 27% from last year. The automaker attributed this performance dip to softened customer demand and planned factory upgrades.
Performance Review & Challenges
Tesla managed to sell 435,059 vehicles between July and September, a noticeable increase from the 343,830 sold during the same period last year. But the analysts had anticipated a higher figure, with predictions hovering around 461,000 vehicle sales for the quarter. Notably, Tesla’s primary sales came from the Model 3 and Model Y, thanks to periodic price reductions, though these cuts impacted the company’s profit margins. However, this quarter marked a slight retreat from Tesla’s outstanding performance in the preceding April-to-June period when it delivered 466,140 vehicles. This quarter also marked a slight dip from Tesla’s performance in the preceding April-to-June period when it delivered 466,140 vehicles.
The company attributed this sequential sales dip to planned factory downtime required for essential upgrades. Furthermore, despite offering substantial price reductions, sales of the aging Model S and Model X declined by 14% year-over-year to 15,985 units.
Tesla now faces the challenge of achieving CEO Elon Musk’s ambitious goal of increasing annual sales by 50%. To attain this target, Tesla needs to sell 1.97 million vehicles this year. However, in the first nine months, it has only managed to deliver just over 1.3 million vehicles. Analysts are projecting total sales of 1.84 million vehicles for the full year.
Price Reductions and Q3 report
Throughout this year, Tesla has consistently reduced prices to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving electric vehicle market, where more automakers are transitioning away from gasoline-powered vehicles. These discounts have ranged from $4,400 on Tesla’s top-selling models to as much as $20,000 on its premium offerings.
The impact of these price reductions on Tesla’s profit margins will be disclosed on October 18 when the company releases its third-quarter earnings report. Despite the margin squeeze, Tesla’s stock price has doubled this year, partly attributed to partnerships like the one allowing competitors like General Motors and Ford to join its charging network.
Interestingly, Tesla may indirectly benefit from a labor strike that started last month, shutting down factories operated by GM, Ford, and Stellantis. The United Auto Workers union is demanding wage increases that could lead to higher car prices, a challenge Tesla isn’t facing with its non-union workforce. The UAW is also advocating for better wages and union representation at electric vehicle battery factories, an issue U.S. automakers are grappling with as they strive to compete with Tesla and foreign rivals.
Looking ahead, investors are eagerly anticipating a robust fourth-quarter production and delivery performance from Tesla to compensate for its third-quarter figures. The fourth quarter holds significant promise for Tesla, with the recent launch of the revamped Model 3 in select markets and the highly anticipated commencement of limited deliveries for the Cybertruck by year-end, although earlier expectations for a Q3 Cybertruck event did not materialize as CEO Elon Musk had suggested.