BANGKOK – Tesla Inc. said new-vehicle deliveries in the first quarter fell 31% from the previous three months as the electric-car maker struggled to ship its Model 3 compact car to customers in Europe and China for the first time, Dow Jones Newswires reported in an article provided to Efe on Thursday.
The Silicon Valley auto maker Wednesday said it delivered about 63,000 vehicles in the latest period, worse than analysts’ already-lowered expectations. Analysts on average had predicted deliveries would drop to 73,500, according to FactSet, a figure reflecting total deliveries of Model 3, Model S and Model X vehicles.
Concerns of a slow start to deliveries in 2019 – Tesla books its sales when a car is delivered – have raised questions about the company’s ability to meet ambitious sales targets after it struggled for nearly two years to increase production of the Model 3, its lowest-price vehicle. Tesla had slashed the Model 3’s starting price three times during the quarter, finally reaching its long-promised base of $35,000, suggesting to some analysts that demand for more-expensive versions had plateaued.
Last quarter was Tesla’s first sales period following the phaseout of U.S. tax credits went into effect, dropping to $3,750 from $7,500 for buyers. The credits end at the beginning of next year.
Tesla attributed the slowdown to challenges associated with taking the Model 3 overseas for the first time, noting it had only delivered half of the entire quarter’s vehicles 10 days before the period ended. The company cautioned that lower-than-expected sales volumes along with several price cuts would negatively affect first-quarter income. It said it planned to end the quarter with “sufficient cash on hand.”
David Whiston, an analyst at Morningstar Research Services, said the Model 3 “should bounce back in Q2 if the transition challenges to delivering in Europe and China are