|02 October, 2019

Tesla sales are running on discharging battery

Tesla had $5bln in cash at the end of June, plenty for now. But unless Musk can find new ways to boost sales, he has his company on autopilot towards another capital raise.

A Tesla retail store is shown at a shopping mall in San Diego, California, September 30, 2019.

A Tesla retail store is shown at a shopping mall in San Diego, California, September 30, 2019.

Reuters/Mike Blake

NEW YORK - Elon Musk has missed another target. The chief executive of Tesla was hoping to deliver more than 100,000 cars in the three months to September, but fell short by 3,000. More worrying for the $44 billion electric-car maker, though, is its stalling growth and lower average price for the mass-market Model 3. That portends more hazards on the road ahead.

All in, Tesla delivered only 2% more cars than in the second quarter, the company said after stock markets closed on Wednesday. Sales of its higher-margin Model S and X vehicles fell slightly. While the 79,600 Model 3s it handed over to customers represented a record, there isn’t a lot to be excited about.

That figure was barely 2,000 more cars than in the three months to June. That suggests lower-priced models introduced this year have done little or nothing to increase demand while bringing the average sale price of each vehicle down to around $50,000, according to analysts at Deutsche Bank. Earlier in the year it was closer to $60,000.

Apply that to the cars sold, as well as an average $90,000 for each Models S and X that arrived at their new home, and Tesla’s automotive revenue for the third quarter would be just over $5.5 billion, excluding any regulatory credits. That’s less than $200 million more than in the second quarter.

Unless Musk has managed to strip out more costs, that implies Tesla is driving towards another loss, though perhaps smaller than the $408 million of red ink spilled in the second quarter. It’s also likely that capital expenditure and investment in new products like the Model Y and the Semi truck were minimal in the period, potentially delaying future launches.

Tesla had $5 billion in cash at the end of June, plenty for now. But unless Musk can find new ways to boost sales, he has his company on autopilot towards another capital raise.

CONTEXT NEWS

- Tesla on Oct. 2 released its production and delivery numbers for the three months to the end of September.

- The electric-car maker handed over 79,600 Model 3s and a combined 17,400 of Model S and X vehicles to customers during the period. Meanwhile, the company made 79,837 Model 3s and a total of 16,318 Model S and X cars.

(Editing by Richard Beales and Katrina Hamlin)

© Reuters News 2019

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