Stock in the electric-vehicle company has taken a beating, even as the entire auto industry has been hit by a shortage of semiconductors cut into production. Upbeat news about deliveries could halt Tesla shares’ recent decline of nearly 30%, while auto investors, in general, will be eager to see how the chip shortage has hit output at Elon Musk.
The delivery figures are always critical because EV stocks are all about growth, the expanding sales that underpin the valuations of all EV companies. Analysts expect Tesla to increase its deliveries by roughly 60% in 2021, while management targets 50% average annual sales volumes for the foreseeable future.
According to FactSet, Wall Street expects Tesla’s (ticker: TSLA) first-quarter deliveries to come in at about 162,000 vehicles. That is down from a peak estimate of about 182,000 cars in January when Tesla reported its fourth-quarter numbers.
Tesla delivered about 181,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2020 and nearly 500,000 vehicles for the entire year. In 2021, analysts project, Tesla will provide approximately 800,000 cars. That estimate hasn’t come down as much as expectations for first-quarter deliveries. Full-year 2021 forecasts are down by about 9,000 vehicles from their peak. At the same time, first-quarter estimates have fallen by closer to 20,000 units. Demand for electric cars isn’t the issue. The question is how badly the microchip shortage will hurt Tesla.