Tesla Inc deliveries fell 31 percent in its first quarter as the electric car maker struggled with its first shipments of the Model 3 sedan to Europe and China due to longer transit times.
But the Silicon Valley carmaker reaffirmed its guidance to deliver between 360,000 and 400,000 vehicles this year, and said US orders for its new Model 3 - which was recently made available for $35,000 - outpaced what the company was able to fulfill in the quarter.
Tesla, whose delivery numbers missed analysts' expectations, said it had only delivered half of the quarter's numbers by March 21, with 10,600 vehicles still in transit at the end of the quarter. By comparison, only 1,900 vehicles were in transit at the end of the fourth quarter.
“Overall, the Street was expecting an apocalyptic quarter and Model 3 deliveries were better than feared by many,” said Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives, who noted the overall number was “clearly rocky.”
Lower deliveries in the first quarter had been expected, as Tesla shifted for the first time to delivering its new Model 3 to China and Europe in January and February, amid a slowdown in demand in North America and after a $7,500 tax credit was cut in half at the end of 2018.
On Wednesday, Tesla said net income in the quarter would be negatively impacted by the lower delivery and recent price cuts. The company warned in February that it would post a first-quarter loss.
Tesla delivered 50,900 Model 3s in the quarter, falling short of analysts' estimates of 58,900, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Tesla delivered a total of 63,000 vehicles, including 12,100 Model S sedans and Model X SUVs. That was less than half the 27,550 Model S and Xs delivered in the fourth quarter.
Analyst Ives called S and X numbers poor, with Tesla focused on Model 3.
Total production fell 10.92 percent to 77,100 vehicles from 86,555 vehicles in fourth quarter. The company churned out 62,950 Model 3s, up from a total of 61,394 Model 3s in the fourth quarter.
The Model 3 is the linchpin of Tesla's growth strategy and Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk is under pressure to deliver the vehicle to new international markets efficiently, while guarding working capital.
Musk has been engaged in a public battle with US regulators stemming from his tweets about Tesla's production estimates and a judge will hear the case on Thursday.