On Wednesday morning, we started receiving monthly sales figures from automakers for January 2017. While Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) does not release monthly figures, there are some sites that try to estimate the data. InsideEvs has released its data for January, and the numbers show an interesting picture.
The site details Tesla as having delivered 900 Model S units and 750 Model X units. This seems to follow the usual Tesla pattern of very low US deliveries in the first month (or two) of the quarter, followed by tremendous third-month deliveries. What's interesting here is that the total number of units, 1,650, just happens to match the number we saw in the first month of Q4 2016, as seen below.
I'd tend to say the January 2017 figure is on the bearish side, only because of what was said in the company's delivery announcement. Tesla ended Q4 with more vehicles in transit than Q3, especially thanks to almost 3,000 units that failed to meet requirements to be counted as Q4 deliveries. Additionally, there will be those who discuss the fact that General Motors' (NYSE:GM) Bolt sold over 1,100 units, with the Volt combining for almost 2,800 between the two.
If US sales are basically flat from October to January, we better get some impressive sales data out of Europe and Asia regarding January. Otherwise, Tesla's inventory will be piling up, leading many to question demand as we approach the launch of the Model 3. The sales news also comes out just as we received notice that Tesla's Model S failed to achieve a top IIHS crash rating, along with a "poor" rating on its headlights. The bull camp talks about the Model S being the safest car ever, but it appears that is not quite the case here.
It will be interesting to see how analysts interpret the latest estimates from InsideEvs. Right now, the street expects a slight sequential decline in Tesla revenues from Q4 to Q1, despite the company now having a full quarter of SolarCity revenues in its pocket. That means that analysts are looking for lower vehicle deliveries, and that's after the Q4 disappointment.
Last month, I detailed the remaining questions surrounding Tesla's upcoming earnings report. Of course, the biggest question currently is when will Tesla report? The company has not announced an earnings date yet, and we usually have the set date by now. There's probably a lot of extra accounting going on, given the SolarCity merger, so maybe a more complex report is taking the extra time.
In the end, Tesla's January estimates from InsideEvs weren't earth-shattering. The company maintained its US sales pace from the first month of Q4, despite the extra amount of vehicles in transit. As we get more data from Europe and Asia, we'll see how demand fares this quarter. With Tesla shares surging so far this year, the company is going to need to deliver some good news soon, or shares will start pulling back.
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