The electric carmaker is expected to release its quarterly delivery numbers sometime before the July 4 holiday, and has a lot to prove after a disastrous first quarter sent the stock spiraling for weeks. On Wednesday, Tesla shares ticked up 0.5% to $220.85 but they are still down 29% this year, compared to a 19.5% return for the Nasdaq.
In April, Tesla projected that it would deliver between 90,000 and 100,000 vehicles this quarter, but many view that forecast as overly sunny.
In a note on Wednesday morning, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote that meeting that delivery threshold is an "unlikely event," and lowered the firm's projection to 84,000 from 88,000 units.
For the first quarter, Tesla pinned its delivery weakness on unforeseen difficulties in delivering vehicles to Europe and China and a bottleneck late in the quarter, which shoved off some deliveries into the second quarter according to Tesla. Meanwhile, the phase-out of EV tax credits in the U.S. have dragged down demand for Tesla vehicles.
Meeting its full-year delivery guidance -- Tesla expects to deliver between 360,000 and 400,000 units for 2019 -- will be an "Everest-like task," and doubts surrounding that target represent the biggest overhang on Tesla shares, according to Ives.
At a shareholder meeting in June, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that there's a "a decent shot at a record quarter on every level," but admitted that balancing growth with profitability will be challenging. On Tuesday, Musk wrote in an employee memo that Tesla could set an all-time record for deliveries "if we go all out" in the final days of the quarter.
"We already have enough vehicle orders to set a record, but the right cars are not yet all in the right locations," Musk wrote in the memo.
Tesla's VP of production, Peter Hochholdinger, has also reportedly left the company. Hochholdinger headed up manufacturing at Tesla's Fremont factory, and has been in the role since 2016.
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