Does Report Of In-Stock Tesla Model S Sedans In Europe Indicate Demand Has Peaked? (Update)
Financial news outlet Seeking Alpha has caught wind of a German Tesla Forum (TFF-Forum.de) that pointed out earlier this month Tesla had about 100 brand new Model S sedans in-stock (all 85 kWh versions) at its assembly facility in Tilburg, Netherlands, waiting to be sold to would-be customers in Germany.
Given the wide-held notion that the availability of the Model S is very scarce in Europe and wait lines are long, Seeking Alpha says this reported availability “destroys a myth” that there is a lot of demand for the car in Europe, and that it may have already peaked.
A check of the online listing of new Teslas available for German delivery on a 3rd party site today does indeed show that 15 days after this report of company-owned excess inventory there are still a few of them available – but not that many (13 at time of update – Listing of the in-stock cars can be found here).
One German member of the forum said he was contacted by Tesla about the cars directly:
“I was called today by Tesla Berlin with the message that short 100 Model S can be supplied with optional equipment. Within two weeks he could stand on my farm. Apparently there was excess capacity, which must be brought to the people in the short term now.”
Update: Tesla Netherlands has since re-contacted this member to inquire about the call from Tesla Berlin and clarify that the report of 100 units was inaccurate. No specific number was placed on the level.
So does any excess inventory mean demand has peaked? It could just mean an allocation hiccup or perhaps a selling off of unclaimed orders.
We do still have to consider that even Tesla themselves guided the street to a lower estimate of 6,400 cars to be delivered in Q1 if 2014 after selling 6,892 in the last three months of 2014 – but hinted that the reason for the lower result was the transition to European and Asian sales.
“First quarter production is expected to be about 7,400 vehicles, which is significantly higher than the prior quarter production of 6,587 cars. However, as the number of cars in transit to Europe and Asia must grow substantially to support those markets, we plan to deliver approximately 6,400 vehicles in Q1. Deliveries will grow dramatically in future quarters as the logistics pipeline fills.”
Our own check of the numbers for sale in Europe indicate that only 96 Model S sedans have indeed been registered in Germany for the first 2 months of the year. Likewise in the Netherlands, where Tesla sold more than 1,100 last year and 508 in December – just 17 have been registered so far in 2014. Again to be fair, without further information from Tesla itself on how production and sales breakdwon, this could just be an allocation issue at play.
As a point of interest, Norway – where the race is on to deliver – leads all European countries in Model S registrations this year with 563 units sold through February (431 during the month).
So do sales mean demand has peaked? It is hard to say. But what we do know is this quarter ends in a couple weeks, and financial reporting will follow – we’ll draw our conclusions then.