Tesla Sets New Record With Q1 Vehicle Shipments

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Tesla sets new shipment record for first quarter following worldwide price cuts, but faces intense competition and economic uncertainty

Tesla on Sunday said it had beaten its previous record for vehicle shipments in the first quarter following price cuts, but analysts were divided over the significance of the figures.

The electric car maker said it had delivered 422,875 vehicles for the first three months of the year, up 4 percent from the previous quarter – which also set a company record – and up 36 percent year-on-year.

Wall Street analysts were divided in their expectations for the quarter.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg said they expected  421,164 vehicles shippped, and 20 analysts polled by Tesla itself said they expected 421,500, according to a tweet by Tesla analyst Gary Black.

Tesla's Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai. Image credit: Tesla
Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai. Image credit: Tesla

Price-cut gamble

But figures compiled by FactSet cited by the Wall Street Journal and CNBC called for 432,000 vehicles and a Refinitiv consensus came in at 430,008, higher than what Tesla achieved.

Tesla delivered 6 percent more Model 3/Model Y vehicles in the quarter from the previous quarter, but deliveries of the pricier Model X/Model S vehicles fell by 38 percent.

The firm had significantly more cars manufactured than delivered, making 440,808 in the first three months of the year, something it said was partly due to vehicles in transit to regions such as Europe.

Tesla is ramping production at factories in Texas and Berlin, saying in late February the German plant was producing 4,000 cars per week. On Sunday it said the Texas factory built 4,000 Model Y cars that week.

Production ramp

Figures from the China Passenger Car Association suggest about half of the cars manufactured in the first quarter were produced by Tesla’s Shanghai factory, which opened in 2019.

Investors have driven Tesla’s shares up 68 percent so far this year as they bet that Tesla’s price war will pay off, although the shares are still 50 percent down from their peak in November 2021.

The company cut prices worldwide by up to 20 percent in January, prompting similar cuts from Chinese rivals such as domestic market leader BYD and start-up Xpeng.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said in January the company had a target of shipping 2 million vehicles this year, up 52 percent from 1.3 million in 2022.