Tesla is banking on a major push for sales in the first quarter of 2023 in an attempt to secure what will likely be its biggest year to date.
In the past, Tesla has routinely depended on end-of-quarter and, most importantly, end-of-year sales pushes to reach goals.
However, the company has adopted a new strategy for 2023 to achieve production and sales goals, and it is willing to do it at all costs.
In its Q4 and Full Year 2022 Investor Shareholder Deck, Tesla stated it would accelerate its cost reduction roadmap, sacrificing its high-profit margins for an accelerated production rate and increased sales:
“In the near term we are accelerating our cost reduction roadmap and driving towards higher production rates, while staying focused on executing against the next phase of our roadmap.”
Tesla put its money where its mouth was by reducing prices significantly in early January across many markets, most notably in China and the United States.
In the past, Tesla has used strategies like discounts, free Supercharging, and other incentives to drive sales, and this is one of the rare instances that it is using practices at the beginning of a quarter to drive sales.
Tesla technically missed its 2022 delivery targets, set at 50 percent growth year-over-year. After delivering 936,172 cars in 2021, Tesla would have technically needed 1,404,258 deliveries last year to reach its production goal. The 1,313,851 vehicles delivered in 2022 put Tesla just under 100,000 units short of its goal.
The automaker is pulling out all the stops to keep pace with its production goals, including driving demand upward with price reductions. Its 1.8 million vehicle target for 2023 will require 4,932 cars to be built every day, which, in reality, is feasible. With Shanghai and Fremont running at full capacity, and rumors of the California plant expanding, Tesla is already well on its way.
Additionally, Berlin and Texas are both ramping up production, and the Cybertruck will contribute some volume in Austin. However, CEO Elon Musk confirmed the pickup’s volume production phases will not begin until next year.
In reality, Musk may be wanting more. On the Earnings Call, he said Tesla might be capable of more than 1.8 million units:
“Well — OK. I mean, our internal production potential is actually closer to 2 million vehicles, but we were saying 1.8 million because, I don’t know, there just always seems to be some freaking force majeure thing that happens somewhere on earth. And we don’t control if there’s like earthquakes, tsunamis, wars, pandemics, etc. So if it’s a smooth year, actually, without some big supply chain interruption or massive problem, we actually have the potential to do 2 million cars this year.”
The commitment to increasing demand and sacrificing margins through price reductions is a key indicator that Tesla is willing to get 2023 off to a hot start, instead of waiting until the tail end of quarters. While demand already seemed relatively healthy, the price cuts improved Tesla’s addressable market, especially with its Model 3 and Model Y mass-market vehicles.
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