Tesla in 2022: records but above all pans

The year 2022 will not have been easy for the Californian manufacturer, to say the least. And if there was positive, there was also less good news, and that, we were not necessarily used to it until then…

Tesla, is it still necessary to present it, it is the brand that everyone is talking about today. It has managed in a few years to become a reference in terms of electric models, if not the reference to be knocked down. Until then, the numbers proved him right. Only, after a particularly prosperous year 2021 where the manufacturer’s market share doubled compared to 2019 and the Model 3 has quite simply become the most widely distributed electric model in the world (1st zero-emission model and 17th, all vehicles combined, in Europe), the breath has died down a bit in 2022… while 2023 does not look very promising. How did we get here ? We take stock for you!

The Model Y, the new goose that lays the golden egg?

2022 had however started well for Tesla with the commissioning of the Berlin factory (from where the Palo Alto brand hopes to release some 500,000 models per year in the more or less short term) but also and above all the arrival expected from Model Y, its SUV based on Model 3. It is clear that the latest addition to the range has sold rather well. Like the Model 3 last year, it multiplies the exploits. For example, it topped sales on the Old Continent in September, all models and all energies combined. Quite a performance, even if it must be put into perspective insofar as deliveries of Tesla models only arrive in waves. In Norway, a country which it is true is particularly fond of zero-emission vehicles, it even recently broke a record by becoming the best-selling car over a year… even though it is not yet over. Unheard of since 1969.

The Model 3 in free fall

Problem, that was not enough to completely compensate for the collapse of the Model 3. On its own, the sedan had sold precisely 141,429 copies in Europe in 2021. In the first 11 months of 2022, “only” 58,593 Model 3 have been registered. By adding up the sales of the Model Y, we arrive at just over 143,000 models. It’s better, but even if we’re still waiting for the results for December, we can already say that it’s not much more, and therefore disappointing. How to explain such a fall for the electric sedan? The answer seems obvious: its successive price increases. In France, its base rate has indeed increased in the space of a few months from €43,800 to €53,490, an increase of more than €10,000! Still with us, where Tesla sold almost 1/5 of its production in Europe last year (which is not nothing), it is in fact no longer eligible for the superbonus and its registrations have plummeted with only just over 14,000 units sold from January to November.

Elon Musk, Tesla and Twitter

But that’s not all. The year 2022 will have been marked by the takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk, the famous leader of Tesla. “Famous”, we say, he is just as famous as the brand he created. So much so that, as one investor at Bloomberg, “from a brand point of view, Elon Musk is Tesla, and Tesla is Elon Musk”. And the problem is that “the more Elon uses Twitter for political purposes, the more he potentially damages the Tesla brand”. Logically, the business of Twitter should not concern the latter but it is nevertheless the case. Investors criticize Elon Musk in particular for no longer devoting enough time to Tesla, for spending too much time on his new baby, and this has a direct impact on his stock market listing. To be convinced of this, just look at the graph below. We note that each of the episodes related to Twitter (purchase proposal, actual purchase, sales of some of its Tesla shares to acquire Twitter or, more recently, his decision to leave the presidency of the social network to “someone crazy enough” to take over the reins) had an immediate effect on Tesla stock. Two years after joining the S&P 500 (the most important stock market index in the United States), the title is only collapsing. Over the year 2022, it should amount to $259 on average, which is low compared to the $409.97 reached in November 2021 and which was quite simply a record. However, we recognize that there is still room. The company is worth some $440 billion. Next door, the second automotive group, Toyota, is estimated at half as much. However, Tesla is expected to sell almost 7 times fewer vehicles at the end of the fiscal year (in March 2023). That is to say if the margins are high…

Source: Bloomberg

But it’s not just the Twitter phenomenon that worries. There are, for example, major announcements from Tesla which are not necessarily followed in practice. We are still waiting, for example, for the marketing of the Roadster or the Cybertruck. The latter, because of its futuristic die-hard design, may not have the same success with the general public as the other models in the range. In any case, this is what shareholders fear. Another recent event that does not play in favor of Tesla, the decision to close its Shanghai factory for almost 2 weeks over the Christmas period. Obviously, the health situation which is embarrassing the Chinese government at the moment largely explains this choice. But the drop in demand is also another reason. And, according to Reuters, it might be closed again sometime in January during the Chinese New Year celebrations. This should not reassure investors any more when we know that more than half of world production in 2022 came from this establishment…

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Tesla in 2022: records but above all pans