Tesla's US inventory crashes in end-of-quarter push [Updated] | Electrek

July 17, 2023

Tesla’s new car inventory in the US has plummeted to a new low not seen since the beginning of the discounts as the automaker appears to successfully liquidate its inventory for the end of the quarter.

There have been changes to tracking of Tesla’s new inventory data, but individual inventory checks also show very few vehicles available compared to last month.

Update: The article has been updated to remove the charts from Jung as the data from the API are questionable, but the check of specific major zip code markets for Tesla support a major drop in inventory over the last week.

Due to its direct-to-consumer model, Tesla manages inventory in a very different way than the rest of the industry.

It can’t sell its inventory to third-party franchise dealerships and can only recognize revenue from vehicles sold once customers take delivery.

It means that it needs to deliver all its vehicles to customers by the end of the quarter or its quarterly financials will look bad.

The model has often resulted in end-of-quarter delivery pushes.

Tesla has slowed down the practice in recent quarters, but new inventory vehicles hit new highs earlier this quarter.

It resulted in Tesla offering new discounts on existing new inventory vehicles compared to new orders for the first time.

The discounts appear to have done their job as Tesla’s new vehicle inventory in the US has dropped massively in the last week. (updated to remove the chart from Jung)

Jung, who is tracking the data, said that Tesla briefly blocked access to the new inventory data, but it has since resumed. While the crash could be linked to the data update, our own check of Tesla’s new inventory in major markets like Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, is showing much lower inventory in line with the data.

With still more than a week left in the quarter, it looks like Tesla could come close to completely liquidating its inventory.

Top comment by A98u723

So, this appears to set up a respectable but mixed quarter. If inventory drops turn out as indicated, there is a decent chance of a beat on revenue and bottom line, but at a cost to margins. Y looks like a continuing bright spot. China deliveries seem to be going pretty nicely too. No visibility on Europe, Berlin or Austin. What margins turn out to be will be key. And if revenue and bottom line both miss, with a disappointing margin, the stock will be under lots of pressure with a current/forward PE of ~79/74.

Consensus non-GAAP EPS is $0.79, an estimate range of $0.50 - $0.97, and with recent downward sentiment changes by the majors, mostly claiming valuation, but adjusting targets upward. The Street's mixed view has potential for a surprise/disappointment meeting high retail expectations. Can go supremely well or poorly for the shares.

The offsetters: S and X are open questions, no contribution from CT or Semi, but storage seems to be going nicely. Solar reads as, "Bueller...Bueller...Bueller...".

Highland and CT production start will be positive indicators if confirmed for 3Q, need to see progress/announcement on factories, batteries and solar. Most importantly, need visibility on margins for 3Q and beyond. Guidance is huge for the institutions.

Expect to see continued world-class expense management.

Wish list of announcements I know won't be coming:

4680 in meaningful volumes

Let's hope for all good stuff.

The biggest difference is the Model 3 inventory, which went down by almost 1,000 units in the last week.

It makes sense considering Model 3 vehicles got the most discounts for the longest period of time during the quarter.

There’s a possibility that Tesla is liquidating all inventory Model 3 vehicles in preparation for the launch of a refreshed version.

More cars could be added to the inventory by the end of the quarter, and the data currently looks good for Tesla.

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Tesla's US inventory crashes in end-of-quarter push [Updated] | Electrek