Tesla reports sales down, citing delivery challenges in China and Europe

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2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance

2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance

Tesla claims that its Model 3 electric sedan again in the first quarter of the year outsold all other mid-size sedans from what it considers premium brands—selling 60 percent more units than the closest runner-up.

That’s the good news from the California electric car maker, in a production and deliveries update released Wednesday afternoon.

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The challenging twist for Tesla, that it underscored, is that production during the quarter far exceeded deliveries.

Tesla produced 77,100 vehicles in all during the first quarter of 2019, including 62,950 Model 3 sedans and 14,150 Model S and Model X vehicles combined. That's already down from 86,555 vehicles produced in the fourth quarter of 2018; Tesla didn't cite a reason for that drop, although the company is likely in the process of ramping up production of the Model 3 Standard Range. 

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Globally, Tesla delivered 63,000 vehicles, including approximately 50,900 Model 3 sedans and 12,100 of Model S and X.

With production exceeding deliveries by a whopping 22 percent, Tesla noted that it has a lot of vehicles in various stages of what might be called transit. “Given that Tesla vehicle production currently occurs entirely from one factory in the San Francisco Bay area, but must be delivered to customers all around the world, production could be significantly higher than deliveries,” it clarified.

READ MORE: Tesla Model 3 owns the EV market, outsells all other plug-ins combined in Q4

You might call the company’s finish to the quarter a miraculous recovery—perhaps not so much to the people on the ground, as it apparently made another mad dash in recent weeks. Even though it still had about 10,600 vehicles in transit at the end of the first quarter, which it attributed to logistical challenges with deliveries for China and Europe, it had only delivered half of the entire quarter’s numbers by March 21.

“We affirm our prior guidance of 360,000 to 400,000 vehicle deliveries in 2019,” the automaker stated—numbers that, if the company can achieve them (with fewer all-nighters), would represent some serious growth in production, delivery, and everything in between.

 
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