Tesla just published its fourth-quarter vehicle production and delivery report for 2022.
Here are the key numbers.
Total deliveries Q4 2022: 405,278
Total production Q4 2022: 439,701
Total annual deliveries 2022: 1.31 million
Total annual production 2022: 1.37 million
Deliveries are the closest approximation of sales disclosed by Tesla. These numbers represented a new record for the Elon Musk-led automaker and growth of 40% in deliveries year-over-year.
However, the fourth quarter numbers fell shy of analysts’ expectations.
According to a consensus of analysts’ estimates compiled by FactSet, as of Dec. 31, 2022 Wall Street was expecting Tesla to report deliveries around 427,000 for the final quarter of the year. Estimates updated in December, and included in the FactSet consensus, ranged from 409,000 to 433,000.
Those more recent estimates were in line with a company-compiled consensus distributed by Tesla investor relations Vice President Martin Viecha. That consensus, published by electric vehicle industry researcher @TroyTeslike, said that 24 sell-side analysts expected Tesla deliveries of about 417,957 on average for the quarter (and about 1.33 million deliveries for the full year).
Tesla started production at two new factories this year — in Austin, Texas and Brandenburg, Germany — and ramped up production in Fremont, California and in Shanghai, but it does not disclose production and delivery numbers by region.
In the fourth quarter of 2022, Tesla said deliveries of its entry level Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover amounted to 388,131, while deliveries of its higher end Model S sedan and Model X SUV amounted to 17,147.
In its third-quarter shareholder presentation, Tesla wrote: “Over a multi-year horizon we expect to achieve 50% average annual growth in vehicle deliveries. The rate of growth will depend on our equipment capacity, factory uptime, operational efficiency and the capacity and stability of the supply chain.”
The period ending Dec. 31, 2022 was marked by challenges for Tesla, including Covid outbreaks in China, which caused the company to temporarily suspend and reduce production at its Shanghai factory.
During the fourth quarter, Tesla also offered steep price cuts and other promotions in the U.S., China and elsewhere in order to spur demand, even though doing so could put pressure on its margins.
In a recent e-mail to Tesla staff, Elon Musk asked employees to “volunteer” to deliver as many cars to customers as possible before the end of 2022. In his e-mail, Musk also encouraged employees not to be “bothered” by what he characterized as “stock market craziness.”
Shares of Tesla plunged by more than 45% over the last six months.
In December, several analysts expressed concern about weakening demand for Tesla electric vehicles, which are relatively expensive compared with an increasing number of hybrid and fully electric products from competitors.
Along with competitors ranging from industry veterans Ford and GM to upstart Rivian, Tesla is poised to reap the benefits of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act this year, which includes incentives for domestic production and purchases of fully electric cars.
Retail shareholders and analysts alike attributed some of Tesla’s falling share price in 2022 to a so-called “Twitter overhang.”
Musk sold billions of dollars worth of his Tesla holdings last year to finance a leveraged buyout of the social media business Twitter. That deal closed in late October. Musk appointed himself CEO of Twitter and has stirred controversy by making sweeping changes to the company and its social media platform.
Shares of Tesla started to rise again in the final days of December 2022, in anticipation of record fourth-quarter and full-year deliveries.