TSLA – Boom or Bust?

Tesla car show room
Blog May 31, 2019
  • Ben Chu , Director of Equities, LNG & Proprietary

According to a series of leaked emails from Elon Musk in the last two weeks TSLA has “a good chance of exceeding the record 90,700 deliveries of Q4 last year,” and that they “have a lot of vehicle deliveries to catch up to in order to have a successful quarter.” But will the final weeks of Q2 make for a TSLA boom or TSLA bust?

As Federal Tax credits expired at the end of 2018 and TSLA moved deliveries overseas, VIN-based trackers are simply no longer positioned to know how the final six weeks of Q2 will turn out. And indeed, they are stopping their estimates. Unique to the Alternative Data industry, the Genscape “boots on the ground” approach is the only timely and accurate count of daily and weekly TSLA production counts.

Our physical counts of Model 3, S & X production out of the Fremont factory suggest both boom and bust are possible. In the first seven weeks of the quarter, we counted over 40,000 total vehicles exiting the factory. If for the remainder of the quarter, 1,000 Model 3’s are delivered per day and S & X delivery hold to prior week patterns, our numbers suggest 91,530 cars for Q2 is possible, exceeding Q4 of last year, which is in-line with Elon’s email. However, our quarter-to-date data averaged ~4,800 Model 3’s per week (though we note with significant weekly variability), and if that trend holds to the end of the quarter along with average S & X production observed to date, our numbers suggest production could reach 76,593 cars for Q2. A count of 76,593 cars means TSLA would fall short of the 77,100 cars produced in Q1 of 2019, when TSLA posted a loss.

Genscape's Observed Weekly TESLA Fremont Factory Production Q2 2019
Figure 1. Q2 2019 TESLA car production count at the Fremont Facility according to Genscape data

Here is more on our track record:

Early Q1, we saw the impact on S, X & 3 demand in near-real time as tax credits expired and the factory prepared for international deliveries.

We called Model 3 count within ~200 cars for Q4 2018 and for Q1 2019, while VIN-based forecasts faltered as VIN registration behavior changed with international deliveries.

• We also forecasted S & X production to reach ~14,840 for Q1 2019, a far cry from prior four quarters’ trend of ~24,700-27,600. The reported count of 14,150 confirmed the dramatic shift.

• A recent thematic question for Model S & X production is the outlook for demand, and our observations of weekly factory production at the Fremont California plant is a close read of demand.

• Demand has also emerged as a question for Model 3 production, though limitations in battery production may also be a factor. On a weekly basis we report our observed battery production numbers from the Nevada Gigafactory. We find battery counts have tracked with, and thus give us added confidence in our weekly Model 3 car counts.

Will Q2 be boom or bust? The final weeks of Genscape’s Tesla car counts will tell.