Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) will report its first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, and the analysts anticipating plenty of talk regarding the automaker’s price cuts are setting their sights on one thing: margins.
Tesla cut prices numerous times across all markets through the first three months of the year, trigging demand and undercutting rival car companies by having a unique advantage that legacy carmakers do not have.
With the unique ability to drop prices across its lineup at the drop of a hat, Tesla controls its own destiny with EV sales, at least in a way. If it drops prices, as it did on numerous occasions in January, February, and March, Tesla can trigger an uptick in sales as it already holds a reputation for having tremendously strong EV tech and a robust charging network that is simply unmatched. Consumers think of Tesla when they think of EVs.
However, triggering sales through a series of price drops is not an ideal scenario entirely. It does affect margins and profits per vehicle, and that’s truly what analysts are looking forward to hearing about during the Earnings Call later this week.
A closer look at Tesla’s (TSLA) confusing Q1 2023 analyst consensus
Dan Ives of Wedbush said in a note that the “tug of war between volumes and margins” is among the key points of Tesla’s earnings call.
While the firm agrees that it was a smart way to defend its EV turf and put “an iron fence around its consumer installed base,” the moves have made margins the “big debate” on Wall Street heading into this week’s call, and largely for the rest of the year.
“When do the price cuts end for Tesla, and what will margins look like on the other side of this cycle as we progress through 2023 in a choppy macro?” Ives said.
Ives notes the price cuts were a major positive for Tesla, especially early in the year, as the automaker cut Model Y prices by as much as $13,000. However, margin deterioration is the main focus, as “cutting prices will naturally have a negative impact on this front.” Wedbush still believes it will keep margins above 20 percent.
Wedbush has a $225 price target and an ‘Outperform’ rating on Tesla stock.
Tesla will report earnings on Wednesday, April 19.
Disclosure: Joey Klender is a TSLA Shareholder.
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