Tesla's executives tell one story, but the numbers tell another. After a quarter of drastic price cuts where Tesla hoped to outperform all the bad news about their not Full Self Driving cars, and their build quality, Tesla did not outperform. Sales inched up a bit, but the EV automaker has overproduced cars for four straight quarters.
But it does mean that over the last 12 months Tesla has produced 78,000 more cars than it has sold, suggesting that talk of strong demand by Tesla executives may not be backed up by the numbers.
"Early this year, we had a price adjustment. After that, we actually generated a huge demand, more than we can produce, really," said Tom Zhu, Tesla's executive in charge of global production and sales. "And as Elon said, as long as you offer a product with value at affordable price, you don't have to worry about demand."
The company reported it completed sales of 422,875 vehicles in the quarter. That's short of the forecast of 430,000 vehicles from analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. But Dan Ives, tech analyst for Wedbush Securities, said the consensus that Wall Street was looking for was deliveries of 421,500, which would mean a very narrow beat for Tesla.
Even Ives, a bull on Tesla stock, said the lower prices that Tesla got for cars in the quarter will mean tighter profit margins going forward. Tesla will report full first quarter financial results on April 19.