LA Private

The great Tesla EV fire sale?

Coming to an X tweet close to you — the great Tesla EV fire sale with price cuts that change by the hour (or even by the minute, perhaps)?

Anything to clear what is an embarrassing parking lot or two of unsold/undelivered vehicles because of an absence of buyers.

The great Tesla clean-out sale with every vehicle personally delivered by Mr Musk, or someone claiming to be the owner of X (with a free ride on a rocket for good measure or your own Starlink low-orbit satellite)?

That might the only way for Musk’s struggling EV giant to get out from under the surge in undelivered vehicles from the March quarter.

Musk has spent the quarter arguing with his company, himself suing and losing cases against critics of the way he is allowing X (Twitter) to be run, or rather not be run, tweeting (X-ing?) all sorts of conspiratorial, rightwing and lunatic rubbish, defending himself against regulators and trying to shift Tesla’s domicile to free and easy Texas.

Oh, he still thinks he should get the US$56 billion he thinks he is worth, but a Delaware Court said no, he can’t have the loot.

But is unclear just where the added stocks (are they produced but unsold, or waiting to be delivered this quarter — Tesla didn’t make that clear) are to be found — Shanghai in China, California or Texas in the US, or Berlin in Germany?

Here are the key quarterly figures: Total deliveries in the March quarter were 386,810, but total production for the quarter was 433,371.

That’s more than 46,000 unsold vehicles, or well over 11 per cent of production in the quarter, and that was after price cuts around the world, especially in China, and then price rises in March to try and stampede buyers.

But vehicle production declined around 1.7 per cent from a year earlier and 12.5 per cent from the December quarter.

Tesla doesn’t break out sales by model but reported it produced 412,376 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles and delivered 369,783. It produced 20,995 of its other models and delivered 17,027.

In the first quarter of 2023, it reported 422,875 deliveries and production of 440,808 vehicles. In the fourth quarter of last year, Tesla reported 484,507 deliveries and production of 494,989 vehicles.

CNBC remarked on how analysts got it so wrong. Reuters said that Wall Street on average had expected Tesla to deliver 454,200 vehicles, according to 18 analysts polled by Visible Alpha.

CNBC said that “according to a mean of 11 estimates compiled by FactSet, analysts were expecting deliveries of around 457,000 for the period ended March 31. Estimates ranged from a high of 511,000 deliveries to a low of 414,000 for the first quarter, with estimates updated in March ranging from 414,000 to 469,000 deliveries.”

Independent auto industry researcher Troy Teslike, whose work is closely followed by Tesla fans, had expected deliveries to come in around 409,000, according to CNBC.

And CNBC said that Tesla’s head of investor relations, Martin Viecha, sent around a company-compiled consensus based on 30 analysts’ estimates over the weekend to select investors. “The consensus, which was viewed by CNBC, said analysts were expecting a mean of 443,027 deliveries and a median of 431,125 deliveries for the quarter.”

Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives, who was very upset, said, “Let’s call this as it is: While we were anticipating a bad 1Q, this was an unmitigated disaster 1Q that is hard to explain away.”

With Tesla reporting first quarter earnings (?) on April 23, perhaps there will need to be a clearance sale of unwanted analysts and their slide rules beforehand?