Tesla issues profits warning after fall in deliveries

First-quarter report misses ‘already pessimistic’ analyst expectations

Tesla Model 3
(Image credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Tesla has warned investors that its profits will be “negatively impacted” as vehicle deliveries in the first quarter of the year were well below analysts’ expectations.

The US electric car company delivered 63,000 vehicles from January to March, which is around 31% lower than the “already pessimistic” prediction of 76,000 deliveries set by analysts, the Financial Times reports.

Tesla’s first-quarter results were also significantly lower than the 90,700 deliveries it recorded in the final three months of 2018, the FT says.

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Around 50,900 examples of the company’s cheapest car, the Model 3, were delivered during the first quarter, which is lower than figures recorded in both the third and final quarters of 2018, The Daily Telegraph says.

Combined deliveries for the Model S saloon and Model X SUV, which are notably more expensive than the Model 3, were 12,100, the paper adds.

“Because of the lower than expected delivery volumes and several pricing adjustments, we expect Q1 net income to be negatively impacted,” a company spokesperson said. “Even so, we ended the quarter with sufficient cash on hand.”

Tesla blamed the poor figures on its attempt to increase sales in Europe and China, which TechCrunch says was “fraught with challenges and caused delays”.

The company also produced fewer cars during the first quarter of the year compared with the final quarter of 2018, the tech site says. This is primarily due to it dropping the 75kWh version of the Model S and X.

Next month, Tesla will begin shipping its entry-level $35,000 (£26,600) Model 3 saloon in US, which The New York Times claims is the car that “many of the company’s fans have been waiting for”.

Analysts, however, are unsure whether the firm can make a profit “selling the Model 3 at that price”, the newspaper says.

Nevertheless, Tesla insists that its yearly target of delivering between 360,000 and 400,000 cars is still on track.

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