Tesla selloff on Model 3 delivery news overdone, analyst says

Jan 03, 2019, 00:59
Tesla selloff on Model 3 delivery news overdone, analyst says

On Jan. 1, the federal credit in the USA for Tesla buyers dropped from $7,500 to $3,750.

Now, Tesla has taken things a step further, opting to slash the price of its Model 3, Model S, and Model X vehicles by $2,000 across the board.

Chief executive Elon Musk is under intense pressure to deliver on his promise of stabilising production for the Model 3, which is seen crucial for easing a cash crunch and achieving long-term profitability.

The company's deliveries for the full year matched Wall Street estimates, but its figures for the fourth quarter fell short. The federal government only offers the tax credit to companies that have sold fewer than 200,000 plug-in vehicles. The Model 3 starts at $35,000 but still can't be purchased for under $45,000.

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Musk said back in October that Tesla turning its attention to filling Model 3 orders in Europe and China early this year would help pick up any slack in demand once USA buyers lose the full $7,500 federal tax credit.

The Model 3, Tesla's mass market auto, saw sales of more than 145,000 previous year.

In the fourth quarter, Tesla delivered 63,150 Model 3s, 13,500 Model S sedans and 14,050 Model X SUVs.

Ives added that Tesla shares are "hypersensitive to any issue around Model 3" and that it will remain a stock that is "guilty until proven innocent" until it discloses quarterly earnings figures next year.

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Deliveries to customers in Europe and China will begin in February, the company said. But the company's ability to sustain a higher level of production - it built 61,394 Model 3s and 86,555 vehicles total in the last three months - will go a long way toward that goal.

The automaker's third-quarter pre-tax profit was around $3,200 per vehicle delivered, but for the first nine months of 2018 the company suffered a third-quarter loss per vehicle delivered of $8,019. "We continue to believe Model 3 demand remains strong, particularly as the company has not begun worldwide shipments or introduced leasing options, and are buyers on any weakness", Kallo wrote.

Tesla says it delivered over 245,000 electric cars and SUVs last year, almost as many as all previous years combined. The vehicle has been delivered only to North American customers and in its mid to higher priced configurations.

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