Tesla confirms record deliveries of 90,700 cars in Q4, production also increased

Tesla has released its fourth quarter 2018 production and delivery numbers today and confirmed record deliveries of 90,700 cars and the production of 86,555 vehicles.

It represents a 8% increase over the last record, which was achieved in Q3 2018.

At the same time, Tesla also confirmed the price decrease in the US that we reported earlier today.

The automaker confirmed that it is to absorb part of the difference of the federal tax credit with the start of the phase-out in 2019.

In Q4, Tesla’s deliveries per model added up to:

  • 63,150 Model 3
  • 13,500 Model S
  • 14,050 Model X

Production numbers were consistent though slightly below deliveries. The vehicles in transit from the last quarter compensated and as we reported earlier this week, Tesla ended the quarter with a few thousand unsold Model 3s in the US.

Q4 brought total deliveries for 2018 to 245,240 vehicles, which almost doubled Tesla’s entire fleet to date.

Here’s Tesla’s press release for the Q4 production and delivery numbers:

PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 02, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In Q4, we produced and delivered at the rate of nearly 1,000 vehicles per day, setting new company records for both production and deliveries.

Production in Q4 grew to 86,555 vehicles, 8% more than our prior all-time high in Q3. This included:

  • 61,394 Model 3 vehicles, in line with our guidance and 15% more than Q3.
  • 25,161 Model S and X vehicles, consistent with our long-term run rate of approximately 100,000 per year.

Q4 deliveries grew to 90,700 vehicles, which was 8% more than our prior all time-high in Q3. This included 63,150 Model 3 (13% growth over Q3), 13,500 Model S, and 14,050 Model X vehicles.

In 2018, we delivered a total of 245,240 vehicles: 145,846 Model 3 and 99,394 Model S and X. To put our growth into perspective, we delivered almost as many vehicles in 2018 as we did in all prior years combined.

Our Q4 Model 3 deliveries were limited to mid- and higher-priced variants, cash/loan transactions, and North American customers only. More than three quarters of Model 3 orders in Q4 came from new customers, rather than reservation holders.

There remain significant opportunities to continue to grow Model 3 sales by expanding to international markets, introducing lower-priced variants and offering leasing. International deliveries in Europe and China will start in February 2019. Expansion of Model 3 sales to other markets, including with a right-hand drive variant, will occur later in 2019.

1,010 Model 3 vehicles and 1,897 Model S and X vehicles were in transit to customers at the end of Q4, and will be delivered in early Q1 2019. Our inventory levels remain the smallest in the automotive industry, and we were able to reduce vehicles in transit to customers by significantly improving our logistics system in North America.

Moving beyond the success of Q4, we are taking steps to partially absorb the reduction of the federal EV tax credit (which, as of January 1st, dropped from $7,500 to $3,750). Starting today, we are reducing the price of Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles in the U.S. by $2,000. Customers can apply to receive the $3,750 federal tax credit for new deliveries starting on January 1, 2019, and may also be eligible for several state and local electric vehicle and utility incentives, which range up to $4,000. Combined with the reduced costs of maintenance and of charging a Tesla versus paying for gas at the pump – which can result in up to $100 per month or more in savings – this means our vehicles are even more affordable than similarly priced gasoline vehicles.

Tesla’s achievements in 2018 likely represent the biggest single-year growth in the history of the automotive industry. We started the year with a delivery run rate of about 120,000 vehicles per year and ended it at more than 350,000 vehicles per year – an increase of almost 3X. As a result, we’re starting to make a tangible impact on accelerating the world to sustainable energy. Additionally, 2018 was the first time in decades that an American car – the Model 3 – was the best-selling premium vehicle in the U.S. for the full year, with U.S. sales of Model 3 roughly double those of the runner up.

We want to thank our customers, suppliers, investors, and especially our employees, who worked so hard to accomplish this.

Electrek’s Take

The last paragraph of Tesla’s press release says it all.

This is a truly impressive and unprecedented for an American automaker, but the market is somehow not liking it at all.

TSLA is down 7% in pre-market following the announcement. I have to assume that it is more about the price changes than the delivery and production results, which I think are in line with expectations.

Maybe production numbers could be a little higher, but the delivery numbers are certainly what we were expecting.

The price change shows that Tesla needs to reduce the price of its vehicles in order to keep some demand in the US following the start of the tax credit phase-out.

It was to be expected, but it, unfortunately, highlights just how much the demand for EVs is still linked to incentives.

Though it would be interesting to see how it affects Tesla’s gross margins. If they are still profitable with those price reductions that compensate for the reduction in the tax credit, it shows that things are going in the right reduction.

By the time the tax credit goes away completely, Tesla might be able to compensate for it entirely with margin improvements.

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