Tesla’s quarterly vehicle deliveries hit a record, but growth was modest despite recent price cuts — leading some analysts to forecast further discounting as the global economy continues to wobble.
The electric-car maker delivered 422,875 vehicles for the first three months of this year, a 4% increase from the previous quarter and a 36% increase from the same period last year.
Tesla slashed prices worldwide by up to 20% in January, sparking a price war after the company’s failure to meet Wall Street’s delivery estimates for 2022.
The basic Model Y that used to sell for $65,990 now costs $54,990.
CEO Elon Musk said in January that Tesla could achieve 2 million vehicle deliveries this year, up 52% from last year, Reuters reported Monday.
The Tesla billionaire gambled that reducing prices would stimulate sales growth, but investors are concerned about eroding margins.
“If they wouldn’t have done the price cut, it would have been ugly. I think what it tells you is the economy is getting tough,” Gene Munster, managing partner at Deepwater Asset Management, said on Sunday.
“They showed an acceleration, but they didn’t accelerate to the level that Elon had suggested it would.”
The 422,875 deliveries fell short of many financial institutions’ previous analysis, including Refinitiv data’s 430,008 and Wall Street’s 432,000, but slightly above analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, who predicted 421,164 vehicles to be shipped, according to Reuters.
The consensus of analysts is “all over the place,” Munster added.
The company delivered 6% more of its mainstay Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in the first three months of this year than in the previous quarter. But the number of deliveries for its higher-priced Model X and Model S vehicles slumped by 38%.
The carmaker produced more cars than it delivered, manufacturing 440,808 vehicles in the first quarter.
It tweeted on Sunday that its Texas factory had built 4,000 Model Y vehicles that week, while also reporting in late February that its German plant was producing 4,000 cars per week.
Barclays analyst Dan Levy expected Tesla might be pressured to slash prices further as other automakers also implemented price cuts over concerns about a deteriorating economy.
Musk cautioned that the possibility of an economic recession and rising interest rates could result in the EV manufacturer reducing prices to maintain growth, even if it means sacrificing profit.
Tesla’s cuts in China ignited a price war, with Chinese rivals including BYD and Xpeng dropping prices to defend market share amid weakening demand.
On top of that, the US electric vehicle subsidies may drop on some models starting on April 18.
During the first two months of this year, BYD, the market leader, held 41% of new energy car sales in the world’s largest auto market.
But Tesla only accounted for 8% of the market share.
Tesla’s shares have soared by over 68% this year due to expectations that the company would win the price war it initiated, despite remaining more than 50% below its November 2021 peak.
Tesla did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
With Post wires