John Graham of Torque News estimates U.S. Model 3 sales for 2019:
Q1 = 60,000 cars delivered
Q2 = 44,000
Q3 = 39,000
Q4 - 51,000
Tesla Model 3 2019 Sales Forecast
Tesla's sales for the Model 3 in the U.S. will not continue to grow. This isn't only due to demand in the U.S. dropping as those who want a Model 3 get one. Rather, Tesla will start to dilute its U.S. sales by sending Model 3 cars to other markets in increasing numbers. The real wild card here is the never delivered upon promise by Elon Musk and Tesla to offer a $35K version of the Model 3. Were Tesla to actually honor this, the Model 3's sales would be limited again only by production. We are betting Tesla does not deliver a car that costs $35K to a consumer before incentives (state and federal tax credits and rebates).
Tesla Model S and Model X
Both models have hit a plateau in sales. Our estimate is that the Model 3 begins to be more parasitic to the Model S as Tesla ramps up special performance editions of the 3 that overlap the S.
Model X = 25,000
Model S = 20,000
Joseph Spak @ RBC Capital, a bear, projects Tesla will deliver 52,500-57,000 Model 3s in the first quarter, they penciled in 21,000 sales to Europe, 6-7,000 in China, the rest in the U.S. (24,500 to 29,000).
On the other side of the coin, Bloomberg's production tracker, which has been more accurate than the analysts when it comes to the Model 3 say Tesla built 80,000 in Q1, far higher than the average analyst estimate of 64,400.
The flies in the ointment will be: 1) how many M3s are in transit; and 2) the state of the global economy in 2019, storm warnings are out and Tesla won't be immune if the global economy starts to tank.
Bloomberg's record on M3 sales:
2018 Q1 9,285 estimated -5%
2018 Q2 27,975 -2%
2018 Q3 53,457 +0.4%
2018 Q4 61,113 -0.5%
2019 Q1 79,856
Put your money down on the analyst you like, but Bloomberg has the best track record by far.
The contrast with this is Tesla's faux pas of late. We've seen them be all over the place on pricing. We've seen them announce store closings and firings of store staff to reduce costs to be able to afford selling the $35K Model 3. We've seen them back off that announcing only some stores will be closed. We've seen Tesla announce a few months delay in the first M3 deliveries. We've seen Musk exhort his troops to deliver more cars ASAP. Tesla has even resorted to tasking its test semi trucks to deliver cars.
What does all this mean?
I think we'd be better off expecting Tesla to announce M3 production closer to Bloomberg's estimate beating the Wall Street consensus. The question is how many of those cars are still on ships bound for Europe and China. We do know that Norwegians will register 7,000 M3s this month alone. We know that German automakers are in a huff because so many in a market loyal to the German auto industry are buying M3s. We know deliveries are proceeding apace in France. It doesn't stand to reason that little Norway with a population of around 7 million will by itself account for a third of the analysts' projected sales in the EU.
Of course, the analysts are now predicting a loss for Tesla in Q1. Musk himself seems worried about it. They did have to pay off that $900+ bond in February.
My guess: Net income will be around zero. What will this do to the stock? I've about given up on figuring that out. GM announces it's closing plants and/or offshoring production and Wall Street shrugs. Tesla is building another gigantic factory in Shanghai, has plans for another in Europe and is rapidly expanding production capacity in California and Nevada and the stock gets hammered.
I also don't get the analyst who predicts weak 2nd and 3rd quarters for Model 3 sales. Jaguar and Audi aren't coming with their new EVs this year. GM's Bolt will go on tax credit window starting tomorrow. There is the Leaf, but locals prefer Teslas if they can afford them. The 1st Q is always the slowest in the car industry. If the economy holds on for a while — my guess is 2020 will not be fun for any of us — there is no reason to predict such a dire dip in Tesla deliveries. Even if you hang your hat on the tax credit phase out as the reason, $3,750 is still around for another quarter and $1,875 for the remainder of the year. Getting the $35k M3 out the door is far more important.
Confusing, ain't it?