Tesla Q1 sales miss Wall Street expectations — and clock the first year-over-year quarterly decline since 2020

Tesla Q1 sales miss Wall Street expectations — and clock the first year-over-year quarterly decline since 2020
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  • Tesla sold 386,810 cars in the first quarter of 2024. 
  • That’s about 90,000 fewer than investors had expected. 
  • Shares fell more than 7% in early trading following the news. 

Tesla delivered fewer cars to customers in the first three months of 2024 than Wall Street expected, it said Tuesday, marking one of the company’s first year-over-year sales drops in nearly four years.

About 386,800 cars were marked as sold in the first quarter compared to estimates, which averaged around 477,000, according to UBS. That’s a 20.1% drop from the final quarter of 2023 and 8.4% from a year ago. It’s also the first year-over-year decline in quarterly deliveries since 2020.

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EV sales have struggled industry-wide, and Elon Musk’s automaker is no exception to economic forces. Over the past year, Tesla has cut the prices of its cars significantly, hurting its profits in pursuit of sales.

“Although Tesla has announced it will raise prices in the U.S. and China effective April, we view it as an attempt to boost sales in March, rather than a sign of solid demand,” Deutsche Bank analysts warned clients ahead of the delivery figures’ release.

Tesla’s future profit growth relies largely on a new, unannounced car at a much cheaper price point — and sustained sales of its Cybertruck.

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Tesla has also ratcheted up pressure on its staff to push its Full Self-Driving software on customers when they take delivery of a car. The $12,000 (or $199-per-month) add-on is an important revenue driver.

In the past, Musk has emphasized the importance of Tesla’s plans for autonomous driving. During an earnings call last year, Musk said that Tesla could theoretically sell its cars for no profit because of the technology.

“We’re the only ones making cars that technically we could sell for zero profit for now, and then yield actually tremendous economics in the future through autonomy,” Musk said in April 2023. “I’m not sure how many of you will appreciate the profundity of what I’ve just said, but it is extremely significant.”

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That is, so long as Tesla can escape a growing focus from safety regulators, which forced a massive recall in March 2023.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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