The electric auto maker delivered 63,150 Model 3 vehicles in Q4 2018 versus the expected 63,698. The move, created to partially offset a reduction in the federal tax credit for its electric vehicles, underscored the key challenge in what is likely to be a pivotal year for the company and its chief executive officer.
Tesla still hasn't shared if it's any closer to its goal of building a low-priced Model 3. It will gradually be phased out this year.
Tesla stocks fell almost 9 percent in early trading Wednesday on the news that it missed analysts' fourth quarter delivery estimates, selling at $302.88. That's vastly better than where the company was a year ago, but significantly below the 6,000/week target Musk previously said Tesla would achieve by August 2018.
Tesla shares fell as much as 9.7% to $300.52 as of 9:36 am on Wednesday in NY. In the past year they have traded from a low $244.59 to a high of $387.46.
Starting Wednesday, the company will be reducing its price for Model S, Model X and Model 3 vehicles in the U.S.by $2,000, it said.
Ives added that Tesla shares are "hypersensitive to any issue around Model 3" and that it will remain a stock that is "guilty until proven innocent" until it discloses quarterly earnings figures next year.
Overall, total production rose 8% to 86,555 vehicles.The company churned out 61,394 Model 3s, up from a total of 53,239 Model 3s in the third quarter. In comparison, Wall Street projected 64,900 for the Model 3, 14,200 for the Model S and 13,600 for the Model X, based on average figures from previous quarters compiled by FactSet.
Tesla's shares plunged on the first day of 2019 trading after the company unexpectedly announced it was cutting prices by $2,000. But customers in those markets still have several weeks to wait, with the company now saying those deliveries will start in February.
For the full year, Tesla said it produced 254,530 vehicles, which is 9,290 more than it delivered.
The $2,000 price reduction is meant to soften the blow of the reduced tax credit, but doesn't completely offset the shortfall.
Tesla recognizes that these incentives are major selling points for their vehicles - that's why the company formed the "EV Drive Coalition" with other prominent EV makers in late 2018.