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April 4, 2019

Tesla shares fall as Q1 sales plunge

Tesla shares fell after a record decline in deliveries during the first quarter as concern arose demand for the Model 3 sedan on sale for less than two years may be falling.

By Olly Wehring

Tesla shares fell after a record decline in deliveries during the first quarter as concern arose demand for the Model 3 sedan on sale for less than two years may be falling.

Sales fell to 63,000 cars in the three months to 31 March, down from 90,966 in the fourth quarter of 2018, Bloomberg reported.

Tax incentives for Tesla vehicles were reduced while, in Europe and China, the company struggled to quickly get cars to consumers, the report said. The 50,900 Model 3s delivered in the first quarter missed analysts' average estimate for 51,750 and was less than each of the two previous quarters.

Tesla reiterated its forecast of 360,000 to 400,000 vehicle deliveries in 2019.

Bloomberg noted Tesla's first quarter had seen demand concerns, multiple price cuts, job reductions and a continued departure of senior executives.

The report also noted Tesla had 10,600 vehicles in transit at the end of last month as the company started sales of the Model 3 in China and Europe.

While Model 3 deliveries were underwhelming, optimists may give Tesla the benefit of the doubt because it was shipping so many cars to new markets for the first time, Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, told Bloomberg. "[Wall Street] was expecting an apocalyptic quarter and Model 3 deliveries were better than feared by many," he said.

Tesla claimed orders still exceeded the number of vehicles it was able to deliver in the first three months of this year.

It had warned shareholders that first-quarter deliveries of the pricier Model S sedan and Model X sport utility vehicle probably would be lower than a year ago because customers rushed to buy in time before the $7,500 US incentive halved.

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