Tesla shares drop after USA price cut, production numbers

Tesla Sinks as Price Cuts Signal a Ceiling for Costlier ModelsMore
Tesla Sinks as Price Cuts Signal a Ceiling for Costlier ModelsMore

03 January, 2019

To soften the blow of their cars' high price tags, Tesla has always offered federal EV tax credits to USA residents; usually amounting to around $7500 in total savings.

The company's sales included nearly 146,000 Model 3 lower-priced cars and another 99,000 examples of the more expensive Model S and Model X. The Model 3 starts at US$35,000 but still can't be purchased for under US$45,000.

With Musk having generally reigned in his own behavior and the company's Model 3 production figures much closer to weekly production targets, the alarm bells that were ringing six months ago have quieted considerably.

Tesla claimed to have delivered 90,700 vehicles in their fourth quarter, short of Wall Street projections for the company. Analysts questioned whether the $2,000 price cut on all models signaled lowered demand in the United States, and ultimately whether the move would undermine nascent profitability at the Silicon Valley automaker, which has never posted an annual profit.

In Q4 2018, Tesla produced a total of 86,555 vehicles, which is 8% more than its prior all-time-high in the third quarter.

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The company says it produced almost 87,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter, also eight per cent above its previous quarterly record set in the third quarter. Global deliveries in Europe and China will start in February 2019. The company churned out 61,394 Model 3s, up from a total of 53,239 Model 3s in the third quarter.

Tesla's shares plunged on the first day of 2019 trading after the company unexpectedly announced it was cutting prices by $2,000.

Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said, "Probably some deliveries in March, but April is more certain", after a Twitter user asked when the deliveries in China would begin.

"The price cut is what's driving the stock lower, as it openly acknowledges the sunset of subsidy dollars is a material headwind", he said.

"In sum, this was a strong quarter for Tesla, but Model 3 deliveries missed Street expectations, and this will be a cloud over the name until the company reports earnings in late January and gives initial guidance for European Model 3 demand in 2019", said Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. "I don't expect that Tesla operates in the black in 2019", Frank Schwope, an analyst with NORD/LB said.

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