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Tesla misses Q4 delivery expectations as stock keeps sliding

How many more straws can you fit on an electric car company's back?

Tesla has finished 2022 with a dismal fourth quarter that saw it fail to meet analyst vehicle delivery predictions, fall short of its 50 percent growth objective and watch its stock rappel downward, shaving billions from the electric car maker's market value.

In a brief statement posted to its investor relations site, Tesla reported the production of 439,701 vehicles and the delivery of some 405,278. Tesla said its deliveries grew 40 percent year-over-year to 1.31 million, while production rose by 47 percent to 1.37 million. 

Multiple publications reported Tesla's quarterly delivery numbers as a record for the EV maker, but Bloomberg said it still falls short of analysts averages it compiled, which predicted the delivery of an additional 15,000 Teslas. 

A single miss amid a quarter of record deliveries might not seem like a big deal, but it's just one more bit of bad news to heap onto Tesla's mountain of problems. 

Demand is one of Tesla's major issues, says Berstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi, who believes Tesla needs to reduce its self-imposed [PDF] (and missed) 50 percent annual growth target and cut production. 

Further evidence of fading demand can be found in Tesla's offered discount to customers taking early delivery in late 2022, which apparently wasn't sufficient to give its numbers a needed year-end boost. Tesla is also likely to face increased pressure from Major US automakers like Ford and GM, which are investing heavily in electric vehicles, and at price points more affordable to the average consumer.

Dan Ives, an equity analyst and long-time Tesla bull, described Tesla's Q4 delivery numbers as "better than worst-case fears," but still not enough to keep optimistic investors happy. 

To make things worse, South Korean regulators fined Tesla $2.2 million (£1.8m) today over allegations the company exaggerated the battery range of its vehicles. 

Korean winters are harsh and cold, as your reporter can personally attest to. Such freezing temperatures cause the range on Teslas to plummet by up to 50 percent, the Korean Fair Trade Commission said, adding that Tesla made no mention of range loss on its Korean-facing website. 

The US EV maker exaggerated driving range, cost-effectiveness compared to gasoline vehicles and the performance of its Superchargers, the KFTC said. 

Ives has been one of several voices critical of Tesla CEO Elon Musk's leadership - or lack thereof - since acquiring Twitter late last year. Ives and other Tesla investors have called for Musk to step down from his role as CEO of the car company and accused him of using Tesla "as an ATM," a fact supported by Musk's sale of billions in Tesla stock in the wake of his Twitter purchase.

Ives said the clock of frustration among Tesla investors "has struck 12," but despite shareholder objections "Musk appears to be doubling down." 

Sinks let in at Twitter seem to be leaking from Tesla

Musk's saga of chaos at Twitter isn't just upsetting Tesla shareholders, it's also affecting their bottom line in a major way: Tesla stock lost 65 percent of its value over the course of 2022, shaving around $672 billion off its market value, The New York Times reported last week.

Tesla stock was on a gradual decline for all of 2022, but that loss accelerated once Musk bought Twitter. Tesla stock lost nearly 40 percent of its value in December 2022, its worst monthly performance on record. 

Since trading opened for the year on January 3, Tesla stock has lost an additional thirteen percent as of writing, placing it dangerously close to dipping below $100. On January 3, 2022, Tesla stock opened the trading year at $382.58 per share.

Tesla's full Q4 and 2022 yearly financials will be reported along with its earnings call on January 25th. ®

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