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Can Tesla Survive Without Tax Credits?

Despite a record delivery Q3 quarter for Tesla worldwide, registrations in the U.S. sharply dropped in August and September, in what analysts attributed to the halving of tax credits for Tesla purchases as of July.

Tesla’s registrations in the U.S. fell by 38 percent year on year in August and by 18.7 percent on the year in September, according to data from automotive intelligence provider Dominion Cross-Sell, as carried by Fortune.

Tesla’s registrations in July this year soared 93.3 percent compared to the same month last year, Dominion Cross-Sell data for the 22 states it tracks showed.  

According to Philippe Houchois, managing director of automotive equity research at Jefferies, Tesla’s lower registrations in August and September in the U.S. are not surprising at all, given that federal income tax credits available to anyone who purchases a new Tesla Model S, Model X, or Model 3 dropped to US$1,875 effective July 1, 2019, from the US$3,750 tax credit until June 30.  

“I’m guessing that in July they still had some leftover deliveries from the second quarter,” Houchois told Fortune, commenting on the high July registrations and the subsequent slump in the following two months.  

According to Dominion Cross-Sell data cited by Fortune, Tesla’s flagship affordable vehicle Model 3 saw the wildest swings in registration trends in July and August. Model 3 registrations in the U.S. surged by 136.1 percent on the year in July, and then they plunged by 40.3 percent in August and fell by 16 percent annually in September.

Registrations of all three Tesla models dropped the most in August and September in California, Tesla’s largest state sales market in the U.S.

The drop in U.S. registrations comes just as Tesla said it had achieved a record number of around 97,000 worldwide deliveries in the third quarter, just short of an unofficial target that Elon Musk had set to deliver 100,000 electric cars in Q3. In its production and deliveries update on October 2, Tesla said that “we achieved record net orders in Q3 and are entering Q4 with an increase in our order backlog.”


By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • H M on October 17 2019 said:
    Tesla has never been able to produce cars fast enough to meet demand, and the past several quarters showed record production. Tesla sells cars worldwide but just opened up sales of the Model 3 overseas in recent months. It's impossible to sell cars overseas without selling fewer in the US when production is already at maximum and demand can't be met.

    People in Australia are complaining that they've been on the waiting list since the day that the car was first announced and they still don't know when they will get their car. The only way that Tesla can meet its obligations in the short term is to have fewer US sales.

    The fact that Tesla is making more cars now than ever before and they still can't keep up with demand shows that they have no problem selling cars.

    Companies that have trouble selling cars don't raise prices. They lower them. Yet Tesla just raised the price of the Model 3 yesterday and not the other way around.

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