Tesla Deliveries: What to Expect

Tesla Deliveries: What to Expect

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With Tesla (TSLA 1.56%) typically announcing its quarterly deliveries within the first three calendar days following each quarter’s close, the electric-car maker will likely announce deliveries for its third quarter on Monday. Ahead of the release, analyst estimates for the period seem to be all over the place. They range from as low as about 440,000 units to as much as 510,000.

Ahead of Tesla’s quarterly deliveries update, here’s a look at some of the driving forces for the period and how analysts’ estimates compare to last quarter and the year-ago period.

The consensus forecast

With a consensus analyst forecast for Tesla to deliver around 460,000 vehicles during Q3, the company is largely expected to report fewer units than in Q2; deliveries during Q2 were 466,140. Notably, however, analysts’ consensus forecast for 460,000 deliveries during Q3 still translates to about 34% year-over-year growth.

A number of headwinds help explain anlaysts’ expectations for a sequential slowdown during the quarter.

First, CEO Elon Musk said during Tesla’s second-quarter earnings call that total production would be down slightly during Q3 as the company shuts down some production lines for upgrades.

Additionally, a high interest rate environment and an uncertain macroeconomic backdrop could weigh on demand. Higher interest rates, for instance, lead to higher payments and thus fewer people who can afford to buy new vehicles.

So, what should investors expect? Based on Tesla management’s comments in its second-quarter earnings call about expecting only a “slight” sequential decrease in vehicle production during Q3 because of planned pauses in production, analysts’ consensus forecast for about 460,000 deliveries seems reasonable. Of course, there’s no way to know exactly for sure how the quarter fared.

Ultimately, while Tesla may report a sequential decline in deliveries, units of around 460,000 would still be impressive considering the macro pressures on demand for autos.

Looking to Q4

Whatever Tesla reports for its third-quarter deliveries, investors may look beyond the period since deliveries during the period were likely supply constrained by planned factory shutdowns. Worse-than-anticipated deliveries, therefore, likely wouldn’t be a big letdown — particularly if the company’s planned pauses in production end up fueling strong growth in the final quarter of the year. Investors may be primarily looking to comments during Tesla’s upcoming third-quarter earnings call regarding management’s expectations for Q4 before they form an opinion about the company’s growth during this uncertain time. With its third-quarter earnings report likely to be released during the second half of October, investors may have to wait a few more weeks before they can gauge how well Tesla is managing its growth opportunity during this environment.

Likely providing a nice contrast to Q3, strong fourth-quarter production is likely. Tesla said in its second-quarter update it had factory tooling installed for annual production of more than two million units per year yet trailing-12-month deliveries as of the end of Q2 were just over 1.6 million. The company’s recent factory upgrades will likely get Tesla much closer to the more than two million-unit-annual production its factories are built for. But we’ll have to get through Q3 first.

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