Tesla production snags send deliveries tumbling

The big picture: Tesla has reported first-quarter vehicle deliveries of 386,810, significantly fewer than Wall Street analysts were anticipating. The falloff marks the first year-over-year decline in deliveries since 2020, and some believe it could be a sign of things to come.

Deliveries were down 8.5 percent compared to the same period a year earlier, which Tesla attributed to the early phase of the production ramp for the updated Model 3 at its Fremont factory, as well as factory shutdowns due to the Red Sea conflict and an arson attack that occurred at its Gigafactory in Berlin.

According to an average of 11 estimates collected by FactSet, analysts were expecting deliveries of roughly 457,000 units during the three-month period. Estimates ranged from 511,000 on the high end to 414,000 on the low end. At 368,810, Tesla wasn’t even close on the bottom end.

Production wasn’t far off from Q1 2023. According to Tesla, it turned out 433,371 vehicles in the latest quarter compared to 440,808 in the year-ago quarter. Production dipped 12.4 percent quarter over quarter, however.

Share value in Tesla is down 5.2 percent as of writing, with shares currently trading at $166.03 apiece. Year to date, Tesla’s shares have lost a third of their value but are still up more than 800 percent over the last five years.

The Model 3 and Model Y collectively accounted for most of Tesla’s deliveries – 369,783, to be exact. The remaining 17,027 deliveries were of other models including the Model S, Model X, and Cybertruck.

The EV giant’s latest offering, the Cybertruck, debuted in December in small numbers and has been met with mixed reviews. Tesla also faced significant competition from domestic brands including Xiaomi, a newcomer to the EV market.

Late last month, Tesla rolled out a one-month free trial of its full self driving tech in the US and mandated that staff demo the tech before owners take possession of their new vehicle.

Tesla is set to share first quarter earnings at the close of trading later today.

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