Tesla is missing sales targets, prompting closer scrutiny of Musk’s priorities

“You can’t sugarcoat that,” Gary Black, managing director of the Future Fund ETF, an investment fund unaffiliated with the Australian sovereign wealth fund, said on Twitter. He predicted analysts would cut their estimates of Tesla’s sales and earnings in 2023. Tesla will report 2022 earnings on Jan. 25.

Last week, Musk tried to reassure Tesla employees by telling them not to fixate on the stock price and repeating claims that the carmaker would become the world’s most valuable company, Reuters reported.

China, the world’s largest auto market, is at the center of investor concerns. The sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in China has weighed on demand, forcing the company to periodically shut down production at its largest factory in Shanghai.

Additionally, Chinese manufacturer BYD has overtaken Tesla in selling electric vehicles in China, raising further doubts about Musk’s ability to achieve world auto domination.

Tesla’s revenue growth percentage exceeds that of any major competitor. The company is also one of the most profitable car manufacturers in the world and is building new factories in Texas and Germany.

But the company faces more intense competition from traditional automakers like Ford, General Motors, and Volkswagen. These companies have decades of experience in mass-producing vehicles at low cost, and some investors think these automakers could catch up with Tesla sooner than expected.

Tesla is also facing slowing consumer demand, in part due to rising interest rates. Wait times for Tesla models have shrunk, and the company has slashed car prices in China and incentivized buyers in the United States.

Car buyers, particularly the left-leaning, eco-conscious consumers who are more likely to buy electric cars, also appear to be turning their backs on Tesla because of Musk. His erratic behavior on Twitter and his heated rhetoric on the social media platform have endeared him to conservatives and Silicon Valley leaders, but outraged others.

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Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities who has asked Musk to focus his energies on Tesla, said fourth-quarter deliveries were decent given the difficult economic environment. “We think that was a relatively good performance,” Ives said on Twitter.

Tesla’s sales could get a boost after its cars became eligible for government stimulus on Jan. 1. A new law removed a limit on the number of vehicles a manufacturer could qualify for up to $7,500 ($10,997) in tax credits. Tesla had used up his quota.

Tesla cars manufactured at the company’s Texas and California factories also meet the requirement that vehicles must be manufactured in the United States, Canada or Mexico to be eligible for loans.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/tesla-misses-delivery-and-sales-targets-20230103-p5ca1i.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_business Tesla is missing sales targets, prompting closer scrutiny of Musk’s priorities

Brian Lowry

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