Shares of Tesla Inc started 2023 where they ended last year and fell more than 13 percent on Tuesday on growing concerns about declining demand and logistical issues that have hampered deliveries for the world’s most valuable automaker.
Once worth more than $1 trillion, Tesla lost more than 65 percent in market value in a tumultuous 2022 as it faced increasing challenges from other automakers and as it struggled with manufacturing issues that hampered deliveries.
Tuesday’s drop added more than $50 billion in market value, roughly equivalent to the valuation of rival Ford Motor Co, which sold three times as many cars as Tesla last year.
The selloff came after Tesla fell short of market expectations for fourth-quarter deliveries, despite shipping a record number of vehicles.
The company’s stock underperformed the benchmark S&P 500 index on Tuesday, as it fell to $106.50 per share. As of 18:00 GMT, it was the second most traded stock on the United States exchanges, with nearly 142 million shares changing hands.
Several Wall Street analysts said they expect more pressure on the stock in the coming months as it faces fierce competition from other automakers and weaker global demand.
At least four brokers lowered their price targets and earnings estimates on Tuesday, citing the missed deliveries and Tesla’s decision to offer more incentives to boost demand in China and the US, the two largest global auto markets.
Cracks in the question
“Overall demand is starting to crack a bit for Tesla, and the company will have to adapt and lower prices, especially in China, which remains key to the growth story,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives.
Global automakers have suffered a drop in demand in recent months in China – the world’s largest auto market, where the spread of COVID-19 has hit economic growth and consumer spending.
Tesla offers hefty discounts there and a subsidy for insurance costs.
The manufacturer of electric vehicles performance in 2022 was among the worst on the S&P 500 index.
“You have so many things working against stock. One is clearly Musk’s involvement with Twitter,” said Dennis Dick, market structure analyst and trader at Triple D Trading.
Tesla’s market value has fallen by about $400 billion since Chief Executive Elon Musk secured funding buy social media company twitter.
Part of that decline comes from his share sale to fund the $44 billion deal, while the stock also lost value amid investor concerns that Musk was being distracted by the social media company.
Valued at about $332 billion, Tesla is still the world’s most valuable automaker, even though production is a fraction of that of rivals such as Toyota Motor Corp.
Tesla delivered 405,278 vehicles in the fourth quarter, fewer than analysts had estimated at 431,117. For all of 2022, shipments were up 40 percent, falling short of Musk’s annual target of 50 percent.
The result “came at the expense of higher incentives, suggesting lower prices and margins,” brokerage JP Morgan said in a note, lowering its price target by $25 to $125.
The median price target of 41 analysts on the stock was $250, according to Refinitiv data, with the lowest price of $85 by Roth Capital Partners.
The shortfall highlighted the logistical hurdles faced by a company known for its late-quarter delivery rush. The gap between production and deliveries has widened to 34,000 vehicles as more cars became stuck in transit.
The automaker also plans to implement a shortened production schedule at its Shanghai plant in January, extending cut production that began in December through 2023, Reuters reported.