Tesla’s awful quarter has Wall Street on edge ahead of delivery numbers

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Tesla’s awful quarter has Wall Street on edge ahead of delivery numbers

In the tumultuous first quarter of the year, Tesla investors faced significant setbacks as the company’s shares plummeted by 29%. This decline marked Tesla’s worst quarterly performance since the close of 2022 and the third worst since its inception in 2010. Notably, Tesla also emerged as the biggest loser in the S&P 500 during this period.

Core Concerns and Crumbling Confidence

Foremost among the concerns on Wall Street is Tesla’s core business, which faces mounting scrutiny. Despite implementing price cuts and incentives to entice buyers, analysts anticipate lackluster results for the first-quarter vehicle production and deliveries, which are due to be reported imminently.

As of the quarter’s end, analyst estimates averaged around 457,000 deliveries, reflecting an 8% increase from the previous year. However, updated estimates in March revealed a more pessimistic outlook, with projections ranging from 414,000 to 469,000 deliveries. Notably, industry researcher “Troy Teslike” expects even lower figures, signaling potential challenges ahead.

Four Major Headwinds Confronting Tesla

1. Fierce Competition in China: Tesla faces relentless competition in China, where a surge of fully electric vehicles, including more affordable models, threatens its market dominance. Despite price adjustments in response, Tesla’s sales in China have remained sluggish, prompting production cuts at its Shanghai factory.

2. European Turmoil and Environmental Clashes: Production disruptions in Europe, compounded by environmental protests and labor strikes, have further exacerbated Tesla’s challenges. Attacks on shippers in the Red Sea have triggered component shortages, while protests in Germany have disrupted operations at the company’s car and battery factory.

3. Product Portfolio Pressures: With the growth rate of electric vehicle sales plateauing globally, Tesla’s product lineup faces scrutiny. While the Cybertruck remains in its nascent stages, its impact on Tesla’s financials is uncertain. Additionally, the rollout of the refreshed Model 3, dubbed the Highland, has been met with mixed reviews, raising questions about Tesla’s design decisions.

4. Musk’s Influence and Controversy: CEO Elon Musk’s controversial statements and political activities have stirred controversy and alienated potential customers. Musk’s interactions with former President Donald Trump and his divisive rhetoric on social media have drawn criticism, potentially alienating Tesla’s target demographic.

Bears Emerge Victorious as Short Sellers Profit

The culmination of these challenges has led to a staggering $230 billion loss in market capitalization for Tesla and its shareholders since the beginning of the year. Short sellers have capitalized on Tesla’s woes, with profits exceeding $5.77 billion in 2024 alone. Despite these setbacks, some investors, like Altimeter Capital’s Brad Gerstner, remain optimistic about Tesla’s long-term prospects, citing advancements in self-driving technology.

In conclusion, Tesla’s turbulent first quarter underscores the formidable obstacles it faces in maintaining its position as a leader in the electric vehicle market. As the company navigates through these challenges, its ability to adapt and innovate will be critical in determining its future success.


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