Tesla deliveries fall due to China Covid shutdowns and supply shortages

Parts shortages and pandemic-related production shutdowns at Tesla’s plant in Shanghai caused a big drop in the electric car maker’s latest global vehicle deliveries, according to figures released on Saturday.

The US automaker said it had delivered 254,000 vehicles in the second quarter. Though up 27 per cent from a year before, the Chinese shutdowns brought its first sequential quarterly drop in more than two years.

The delivery figure was well below the 350,000 that Wall Street had been expecting at the beginning of the quarter, though analysts started scaling back their forecasts in late April after chief executive Elon Musk warned that the figure was likely to be roughly level with the 310,000 of the first quarter.

The forecasts have fallen again in recent days as Wall Street has sought to anticipate the final impact of Chinese shutdowns, which continued sporadically throughout the quarter. The Shanghai plant produced around half of the company’s output last year. Tesla has been scrambling since the end of March to boost production at its main US plant in Fremont to make up some of the shortfall.

Tesla said the latest delivery figures reflected “ongoing supply chain challenges and factory shutdowns beyond our control”. It also indicated that the challenges had eased late in the quarter, with the highest monthly production volume in the company’s history in June.

Until its recent setback in China, Tesla had managed to resist many of the supply chain pressures that have hit other automakers since last year. But investors’ confidence has waned since Musk’s downbeat forecast three months ago, wiping 30 per cent from its stock price since then.

Musk said earlier this month that the company would cut 10 per cent of its salaried workforce, after a rapid increase in staffing over the past two years.

The latest figures left Tesla with total deliveries of 564,000 in the first half of the year, up 46 per cent from the same period of 2021. That has left a steep uphill climb if the company has any hope of hitting the 1.5m full-year delivery target Musk set in April.