Tesla posted record quarterly vehicle deliveries after cutting prices of its cars, but quarter-on-quarter sales growth was modest because of rising competition and a bleak economic outlook.
The automaker delivered 422,875 vehicles in the first three months, up 4 percent from the previous quarter and 36 percent higher than in the same quarter a year ago.
Tesla delivered 6 percent more of its mainstay Model 3/Model Y vehicles in the first three months than in the previous quarter. But the number of deliveries for its higher-priced Model X/Model S vehicles slumped by 38 percent.
The automaker produced more cars than it delivered, manufacturing 440,808 vehicles in the first three months.
Tesla ramped up production at new factories in Texas and Berlin, and in China as production recovered from a COVID-19 lockdown hit. The company tweeted on Sunday that its Texas factory built 4,000 Model Y cars last week, while the automaker said in February that its German plant was producing 4,000 cars a week.
CEO Elon Musk, who has missed his own ambitious sales targets for Tesla in recent years, said in January that 2023 deliveries could hit 2 million vehicles without external disruption, up from 1.3 million in 2022.
Investors have been watching Musk's gamble that cutting prices would stimulate sales, although they worry about eroding margins. In January, Tesla slashed prices globally by as much as 20 percent, unleashing a price war after missing Wall Street delivery estimates for 2022. The basic Model Y that used to sell for $65,990 now costs $54,990.
"If they had not cut the price it would have been ugly. I think what it tells you is the economy is getting tough," Gene Munster, managing partner at Deepwater Asset Management, said on Sunday. "They showed an acceleration, but they did not accelerate to the level that Elon had suggested it would," Munster said.
The first-quarter deliveries compare with analyst expectations of 430,008 vehicles, according to Refinitiv data based on seven analysts.
According to a mean of estimates compiled by FactSet as of Friday, Wall Street was expecting Tesla to report deliveries of around 432,000 vehicles for the quarter, the Wall Street Journal and CNBC reported.
Tesla missed the figure analysts surveyed by Refinitiv and FactSet were expecting. Other estimates show Tesla beat Wall Street expectations with its 422,875 vehicles delivered. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected 421,164 vehicles would be shipped.
Tesla said a consensus of more than 20 analysts called for 421,500 vehicles delivered, Tesla investor Gary Black said in a tweet. Reuters could not independently confirm that figure.
The consensus is "all over the place," Deepwater's Munster said.