Tesla U.S. Sales Trajectory Confuses Analysts

Tesla-Q1-2023-sales-registrations

New data on Tesla registrations from the year’s first quarter is splitting and confusing analysts.

Tesla is by far the top EV seller in the U.S. According to new data from Experian, Tesla still controls more market share than all 23 of its competitors combined. However, many of the indicators from the new data are setting off alarms for some analysts, creating divided opinions and confusion.

A couple of warning signs were found in the new batch of data on vehicle registrations in the U.S. Foremost is the concern about weakening demand for Tesla vehicles. As noted by an Automotive News report, while Tesla’s first-quarter delivery numbers were by no means bad, they were far from mind-blowing, growing just 3.7% from Q4 ’22.

More disturbing to some analysts, Tesla’s year-over-year growth shrank by more than 40%, to 35%.

Analysts’ concerns culminated in the Experian report’s findings, showing Tesla’s market share had dropped drastically to 58%, despite aggressive price cuts since the beginning of the year. Some argued this is more evidence the price cuts put in place will continue into the future and are more necessary than ever.

These market results and conclusions have spiraled into two primary arguments: whether Tesla’s price cuts are necessary, and whether Tesla needs to be concerned about its Q1 results.

Both sides of these arguments have pointed to Tesla’s growing competition, particularly within the luxury segment, as evidence. Traditional luxury players, including Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and BMW, have all seen EV sales numbers grow dramatically as their customers become more accustomed to the offerings. However, it remains unclear if this growth is at the detriment of Tesla or is simply adding to a wave of demand for EVs overall, hence lowering Tesla’s market share.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has pointed to two hurdles that may be affecting the automaker’s market success: record-high interest rates and lingering inflation. But not everyone is convinced only macroeconomic forces are working against Tesla.

Analysts from iSeeCars argue many market forces are currently working against the EV leader, including the aforementioned increase in competition. Specifically, the analysts point to the Model S, which has recently fallen from America’s top 10 most popular EVs after a long period of leadership in the segment.

Tesla’s solution to these issues thus far has been continual price cuts, hoping to attract a new set of lower-budget buyers. However, this strategy has its drawbacks. Not only is Tesla slowly cutting away at its profit margins, but it may also be damaging its brand image, a critical part of any luxury offering.

Looking forward, with an increasing number of offerings from new and old competitors alike, Tesla certainly has its work cut out for it. Despite the rising competition, interest in Tesla vehicles continues to climb, along with overall sales, even with its supposed sinking growth rate. Tesla’s success or failure may become apparent in the coming quarters as it looks to introduce new models, product upgrades and more.

We thank Teslarati for reprint permission.

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