The quarterly release of Tesla's delivery numbers are generally published a few days after the quarter ends. In the past, the delivery numbers gave good insight as to what the upcoming earnings report would hold, but with the growth of Tesla's solar and battery divisions, delivery numbers and the earnings report may no longer be so directly correlated. Even with sub-par delivery numbers, Tesla's earnings report could still be phenomenal.
As of Tuesday's market close, Tesla ($TSLA) stock traded at $418.33 per share, up 0.88% from the day's open; as compared to the S&P 500, which weighed in at $3230.78, up 0.29% from Tuesday's close.
For the 2019 calendar year, Tesla set a delivery goal of 360,000 vehicles. Here is the quarter-over-quarter delivery breakdown:
QoQ delivery graph, with Q4 numbers assuming the perfect amount of vehicles is delivered (104,800) to meet the 360,000 unit goal. As the graph shows, 104,000 deliveries in Q4 is not unrealistic by any means.
Now, I'll admit I cheated a little with this next chart, graphing worldwide sales for Tesla but North American sales for GM and Ford, but the point is it shows that Q1 is rough across the board.
TTM Vehicle sales by Company, using North American sales numbers for GM and Ford, and worldwide figures for Tesla.
Part of the point of this graph is to highlight Tesla's ability as an American automotive manufacturer, ramping up sales and deliveries in such a short amount of time. In its first seven years of production combined, DeLorean Motor Company produced less than 9,000 cars. Fisker sold less than 2,000 cars before it went defunct in 2014. Since then, it has not sold/produced more than 300 cars in a single year. In fact, research for this article was difficult, as hardly any American auto manufacturer in recent history has lasted more than a few years before bankruptcy, and many of the ones that have lasted only produce extremely low-volume, niche cars.
Despite what skeptics may say, Tesla's first decade has outperformed the first decade of nearly every other North American automotive manufacturer in history, electric or gas.
With all the buzz concerning Tesla's growth, many are eager to see the 4th quarter numbers. Even the most notorious Tesla short, Mark Spiegel of Stanphyl Capital, predicts 108,000 deliveries, which would put Tesla 4,000 vehicles over their goal of 360,000 vehicles in 2019.
Twitter user @TroyTeslike put much time, effort, and analysis into his prediction, and included the chart of how his prediction has changed over time, ending up with a final estimate of 108,400 vehicles for Q4.
Some, like @ghost_scot were very optimistic, with his estimate as high as 115,000 vehicles.
Also close on the horizon is the delivery of Model Y, which has already accumulated a significant amount of preorders, and sightings in "the wild" have become increasingly frequent. If production can keep up, Model Y deliveries could very well bolster what could otherwise be a lackluster first quarter of 2020.
Tesla is interesting as an automaker, in that they literally deliver as many cars as they can possibly produce. Most traditional manufacturers will produce their yearly model, ship to dealers according to demand, and lower the price periodically throughout the year, depending on whether or not all inventory can sell. Tesla has refused this orthodoxy, selling (and delivering) directly to customers, which, in the future, should also help alleviate the first-quarter lull that most automakers experience.
In fact, Tesla's deliveries are so direct to customers, that Elon himself tweeted that he would be at the Fremont, California factory for a few days, delivering cars. Here's a picture posted by Twitter user @Ryanth3nerd, showing Elon, getting ready to make deliveries in a Cybertruck shirt:
Delivery statistics are usually posted in the first few days following the end of the quarter. One can assume the numbers will be published (either officially or unofficially) sometime between Thursday and Saturday.
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Cover image used courtesy of Tesla Inc.
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Christopher Larson is not a shareholder in Tesla, Inc., and does not currently (at the time of this article's publishing) hold any bonds, options, or securities in Tesla Inc. or its affiliates.