Update: 4/29 6:02 pm est – Added comment from Troy Teslike, starts para. 4
The volume of Tesla inventory vehicles in Europe has spiked to its highest point this year, indicating the potential for another price cut.
Tesla has been finding a lot of success in the European market ever since it introduced its Model Y SUV to the continent, which has quickly become not only Tesla’s top seller in the region but the top-sold vehicle in many of Europe’s largest economies. Despite this success, Tesla saw a slight but noticeable decline in sales in the European market during the year’s first quarter. Now, trouble seems to continue for the American EV brand, which now sees a record number of inventoried vehicles in Europe.
The revelation regarding Tesla’s European inventory spike was posted on Twitter by Troy Teslike, who tracks Tesla sales and production.
Here is a chart that shows Tesla’s inventory in Europe over time (cars listed for sale on Tesla’s website): https://t.co/xbjD6sh8wm Supply is not an issue anymore. Therefore Q2 sales should give us a clear picture of demand
• 94,819 in Q4 2022
• 93,784 in Q1 2023 pic.twitter.com/BxQm2bJX4P
— Troy Teslike (@TroyTeslike) April 28, 2023
The results posted on Twitter show that Tesla has reached well above its record high for the year, primarily with units of Model 3s and Model Ys. However, a surprising number of Model Ss and Model Xs also seem to be accumulating.
In a comment to Teslarati, Troy Teslike laid out a couple of reasons Tesla may be experiencing a buildup of units in Europe. “I think the inventory buildup in Europe suggests a shift from being production-limited to demand-limited,” Teslike begins. “However, this doesn’t mean deliveries will be affected. It just means production exceeds demand.”
Teslike then points out that, thanks to Tesla’s continuing massive production ramp, a buildup of inventoried units has been slowly but surely creeping up on the automaker. “Tesla’s global production was higher than deliveries in the last four quarters. That resulted in an increase in inventory. Most of that inventory build-up happened in Europe.”
Tesla’s inventory at the end of Q1 was equal to 15 days of supply based on page 6 of Tesla’s shareholder letter https://t.co/n3wXWLqrHl Here is how that compares to other quarters.
Production was higher than deliveries in the last 4 quarters. pic.twitter.com/s5zc5s9Kgp
— Troy Teslike (@TroyTeslike) April 28, 2023
Concluding his statement, Teslike points to a specific source, Tesla Giga Shanghai. Thanks to Shanghai’s incredible production output, and Tesla’s uphill battle in China, excess units are ending up in Europe, but, according to Teslike, this may not be a bad thing. With added volume on the continent, the American automaker will be able to address demand quicker than ever, the only question is, will it be able to garner the necessary demand?
This strange inventory anomaly has attracted countless analysts besides Teslike, looking to find the stem of the issue. Does it stem from slowing demand for Tesla vehicles? Is it indicative of a slowing EV segment more generally? Is this issue just a symptom of more significant regional macroeconomic problems? Or, for the optimists, is this sudden spike even something worthy of concern?
It goes without saying that Europe, much like many other Western markets, has seen a good deal of economic turbulence in the first half of the year, including persistent high living costs, high inflation, and even the potential for bank collapse, however considering the success of other EV makers, this factor is unlikely the sole contributor.
Furthermore, with the dramatic uptick in EV sales seen at brands like Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes, it would be hard to believe that Tesla’s offerings suffer from a lack of affordability, especially as they already undercut these competitors by a substantial margin.
It should be noted that competition within the EV market, particularly in Europe, has gotten quite fierce with the entrance of countless new offerings, not only from the aforementioned luxury competitors of Tesla but also from Volkswagen, Renault, Peugeot, and Ford; brands that are all reasonably successful within the European affordable vehicle market outside of EV sales.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has made it clear that Tesla’s pricing strategy, attempting to continue to lower prices to attract more customers, will continue well into the future. However, considering the current round of price cuts has still resulted in a record spike in inventory, it remains unclear if this will be the fix Tesla is looking for.
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