Tesla’s first-quarter vehicle sales fell as EV market cools

Tesla delivered 386,810 vehicles globally in the first quarter, down 8.5% from a year earlier. (AP)
Tesla delivered 386,810 vehicles globally in the first quarter, down 8.5% from a year earlier. (AP)

Summary

The carmaker’s first-quarter vehicle sales declined 8.5%, stoking further concern about the company’s growth prospects this year.

Tesla reported its first year-over-year decline in quarterly deliveries since 2020, missing Wall Street’s expectations and stoking further concern about the company’s growth prospects this year.

Elon Musk's electric-vehicle maker delivered 386,810 vehicles globally in the first three months of 2024, down 8.5% from a year earlier. It was the company’s lowest quarterly performance since the third quarter of 2022.

The result was enough for Tesla to reclaim the title from China’s BYD as the world’s top EV seller on a quarterly basis. Yet it is a troubling sign for the broader electric-vehicle market, where growth is slowing and automakers including Ford Motor and General Motors are recalibrating investment plans after finding consumers to be less enthusiastic about going electric than the companies had expected.

Tesla shares fell about 6% in premarket trading Tuesday. The company’s stock was down nearly 30% this year through Monday, making it the worst performer in the S&P 500 index.

Analysts have slashed their expectations for Tesla’s first-quarter performance over the past several weeks. Those surveyed by FactSet forecast Tesla would deliver around 457,000 vehicles globally in the first quarter, though that reflects some stale estimates. Others expected results to be weaker.

Tesla attributed the result partly to production setbacks in the first three months of the year.

First, the company halted output at its plant in Germany for two weeks beginning in late January, citing parts shortages stemming from attacks on ships in the Red Sea. Then, in March, the assembly line ground to a halt once more after an arson attack on the grid that supplies power to the factory.

Meanwhile, Model 3 production tumbled in the U.S. as the company introduced its refreshed version of the car domestically.

Tesla produced 433,371 vehicles in the first quarter, down from 440,808 in the first three months of 2023. Most of them were Model Y crossovers and Model 3 cars. The company didn’t disclose how many Cybertruck pickups it produced.

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