Tesla Electric Car Deliveries to be slowed down due to COVID-19 in Q4

Tesla reported first-quarter deliveries and production that were up significantly from a year ago; beating consensus expectations, but Elon Musk’s electric-car company wasn’t spared from the coronavirus downturn with results that fell below the record pace of 2019’s final quarter. With its main plant currently shut down and the COVID-19 crisis cutting demand, the second quarter will likely feel a much bigger hit.

The company delivered 88,400 vehicles to customers worldwide in the first three months of the year, up 40% from the year-earlier period and topping consensus expectations for just under 80,000 units. Production totaled 102,672, rising by a third from 77,100 in 2019’s first quarter. Even with the addition of the Shanghai Gigafactory that opened early this year, deliveries dropped 21% from last quarter and production slipped 2.1%.

The better than expected year-over-year figures pleased some investors, with Tesla rising more than 15% in after-hours Nasdaq NDAQ trading. The stock dropped 5.6% to close at USD454.47 on Thursday, prior to the quarter figures.

Tesla began 2020 on a hot streak, with the opening its first plant in China, starting Model Y crossover production ahead of schedule and its share price reaching the stratosphere in February, pushing the company’s market cap to a record USD168.8 billion on February 19. But that was all before the full impact of the coronavirus was felt in the U.S., leading to the shutdown of production operations at Musk’s main electric-car plant in Fremont, California.

The Shanghai plant officially opened on Jan. 7, but was shut down for about two weeks, starting in late January, as China dealt with the initial outbreak of the coronavirus. Tesla’s income, revenue and complete quarterly results will be released in the next few weeks, and the company didn’t provide any guidance on Thursday.

Although the quarterly numbers beat analysts’ expectations, the months ahead are going to be tough for all automakers, including Tesla, said Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi, Jr, who rates its shares Market Perform.

Quarterly deliveries included 76,200 units of Model 3 sedans and Model Y crossovers, and 12,200 units of Tesla’s pricier Model S sedan and Model X CUV, which can sell for more than USD100,000 each.

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