Tesla announced a $2,000 reduction in the price of all vehicles to partially offset expiring tax credits, but the move wasn't enough to stop Wall Street from punishing the company today. On Jan. 1 the federal credit for Tesla buyers dropped from $7,500 to $3,750. That still doesn't quite make up for the $7500 incentive's loss (combined with the new $3750 tax credit, customers now save around $5750), but it's certainly better than nothing.
It's not clear how the delivery figures will affect Tesla's fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 earnings, which likely will be announced in February. The company announced it had delivered 63,150 vehicles in the quarter, up from 1,550 in the same period past year but below the 64,900 analysts had been expecting. Tesla had previously stoked investor optimism by claiming that improvements in efficiency had reduced the number of labor hours needed to build the Model 3 by 30 percent.
Tesla delivered 99,394 of its Model S and X vehicles in 2018, just shy of its 100,000 goal.
According to Tesla, more than three-quarters of its Model 3 orders in the last quarter of the year were from new buyers, not pre-existing reservations.
Overall, total production rose 8% to 86,555 vehicles.The company churned out 61,394 Model 3s, up from a total of 53,239 Model 3s in the third quarter. The more than 90,000 deliveries that Tesla was able to accomplish in Q4 translates to about 1,000 vehicles per day - a notable feat for such a young carmaker.
Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives, meanwhile, said the price cut was "a potential positive" for demand, "but not what the bulls wanted to hear on the impact to profitability and ultimately the bottom line". "We also believe the $2 000 price cut to help subsidise the lower EV tax credit is a move that was not fully expected".
Shares closed down 6.77 per cent, wiping almost $US5 billion ($7.2 billion) off its market value, as the company reported that in the three months to the end of December it delivered 90,700 cars, up 8 per cent on the record set the previous quarter.
But the price cut of $2,000 on the model took the market by surprise and weighed on the stock, pushing it down 9.4% in morning trade on a broadly weaker day for U.S. markets.
The Palo Alto, California, company's 2018 sales included nearly 146,000 Model 3 lower-priced cars and another 99,000 of the more expensive Model S sedan and Model X SUV.
Whereas Tesla began 2018 with production being the big challenge, chief executive officer Elon Musk is starting this year with worries about how much of a market is left for pricier versions of the Model 3.