DETROIT (AP) – Tesla sales fell to their lowest quarterly level in April-June as supply chain problems and pandemic restrictions in China halted production of its electric vehicles.
The company said on Saturday that it sold over 254,000 cars and SUVs from April through June, down 18% from the first three months of this year and slower than the pace of last year’s final quarter.
The last time Tesla sold fewer vehicles worldwide was in the third quarter of 2021, when it delivered 241,000.
On Friday, according to JD Power, the rest of the industry reported a 21% drop in second-quarter sales as average vehicle prices hit a record $45,844.
Tesla’s sales decline could herald weak second-quarter earnings for the Austin, Texas-based company, which is the world’s largest seller of battery-powered vehicles and has posted a net profit for nearly three years. Tesla plans to release its full April-June results on July 20.
Like many other stocks, Tesla stock has taken a big hit this year. But the 35% drop in Tesla’s stock price isn’t entirely down to the company’s powers of observation.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also made a $44 billion bid for Twitter, which he blocked after complaining that there are many non-human spambot users. Tesla’s value has fallen sharply since Musk became Twitter’s largest shareholder and then made a takeover bid that raised concerns it had too much on its already overflowing plate.
Musk has used his own Twitter account, which now has more than 100 million followers, to discuss pandemic restrictions that forced the Shanghai factory to temporarily close during the quarter. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives estimates that more than 40% of Tesla’s sales come from China and the Shanghai plant produced about 70,000 fewer vehicles due to the closure.
But Tesla said things got better on Saturday, saying it produced more vehicles in June than any other month in its history. The company did not disclose the number of vehicles manufactured in June.
As of Saturday afternoon, Musk had not tweeted about Tesla’s second-quarter sales. But he caused a stir on Twitter late Friday, ending a nine-day silence. Her Friday tweet included another featuring her and her four children with Pope Francis.
Tesla’s latest delivery figures came a week after Musk published an interview in which he described new factories in Austin and Berlin as “money furnaces” that lost billions of dollars due to the supply chain collapse. The number of cars they could produce was limited. ,
In a May 30 interview with the Tesla Owners Club, published last week, Musk said that the viability of the Berlin and Austin plants “is our concern. Everything else is a very small matter,” Musk said, but added that “everything will get better quickly.”
Musk has also talked about bringing employees back to offices and cutting Tesla’s workforce by 10% due to a possible slowdown.
The supply chain collapse since the outbreak of COVID-19 two years ago has been particularly debilitating for automakers, which source parts from all corners of the world. The lack of computer chips needed to run cars’ computers exacerbated automakers’ problems and caused used and new car prices to skyrocket.
As the 2020 pandemic spread across the US, automakers were forced to close factories for eight weeks to stop the spread of the virus. Some parts companies have canceled orders for semiconductors. At the same time, demand for laptops, tablets, and gaming consoles skyrocketed as people upgraded their devices at home.
By the time auto production resumed, chipmakers had shifted production to consumer products, leading to a shortage of weather-resistant, automotive-grade chips. Even though Tesla has outperformed other automakers, the industry still isn’t getting enough chips.
AP Business Writer Michael Lidtke contributed to this story from Berkeley, California.