Tesla’s Delivery Report Is Coming. There’s Lots to Watch This Time.

 Tesla’s Delivery Report Is Coming. There’s Lots to Watch This Time.

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A Tesla Model Y car, shown in Shanghai in April.


Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images


Tesla

‘s quarterly delivery report, always a key point to watch for investors, could offer more than usual this quarter. It will tell stories about the automotive semiconductor shortage, Tesla’s recent woes in China, and overall demand for electric vehicles.

The consensus call on Wall Street is that the EV pioneer delivered about 201,000 vehicles in the second quarter, but expectations might be creeping upward. “We believe 200,000 is the line in the sand and right now it’s biased upside given stronger Europe and China demand,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives told Barron’s.

Ives rates Tesla shares at Buy. His target for the stock is $1,000, while the price closed at $680.67 on Tuesday afternoon.

Credit Suisse analyst Dan Levy, for his part, believes Tesla (ticker: TSLA) will report deliveries of between 205,000 and 210,000 vehicles. “While our expectation would require a record month for Tesla in June …we believe this is feasible given Tesla’s typical quarter-end wave,” wrote Levy in a Tuesday report. Tesla typically delivers the bulk of the cars for any quarter in the final month.

Deliveries could reach that 205,000 to 210,000 range if the auto maker delivered 115,000 cars in June, he said, a number that is possible depending on Tesla’s performance in China. Levy rates Tesla shares at Hold, with a target of $800 for the price.

Although overall EV sales in China grew strongly during April and May, with respective year-over-year gains of about 200% and 170%, according to Mizuho analyst Vijay Rakesh, Tesla, had a shaky start. It sold about 34,000 vehicles in the country during April and May, according to industry data reported by Wall Street firms. The company produced more cars than that, but chose to export some vehicles from its Shanghai plant to Europe.

Even if Tesla only meets the consensus expectation for quarterly deliveries of around 200,000 cars, that would be another quarterly record. In the first quarter, Tesla delivered about 185,000 vehicles, compared with 181,000 in the fourth quarter of 2020 and about 88,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2020.

The first-quarter figure was far more than expected. Wall Street estimates ranged from roughly 162,000 to about 172,000, down from an earlier consensus call of more than 180,000 deliveries, mainly because of the semiconductor shortage affecting the entire automotive industry. Strong delivery numbers could offer an additional hint that the shortage, which is believed to be abating, is less of a bottleneck for industry production.

Not everyone is expecting some 200,000 deliveries, though. GLJ analyst Gordon Johnson has pegged the number at about 193,000 deliveries. Johnson is downbeat on the stock, rating Tesla shares at Sell with a $67 price target, but his first-quarter estimate of about 185,000 vehicles was very close to the number Tesla actually reported.

For the full year, Johnson expects about 800,000 deliveries. The average call on the Street has risen from roughly 830,000 to 865,000. while the highest estimates are now above 900,000 units.

More than 900,000 deliveries would be a win for investors who are hoping Tesla can break out of a slump that has left the stock down almost 4% year to date, even as the

S&P 500

and

Dow Jones Industrial Average

have risen.

Since the end of May, however, the stock is up almost 9%. Optimism about deliveries is likely one factor behind that gain. Growth stocks’ recent return to favor may have helped as well. The

Nasdaq Composite,

home to many richly valued tech stocks, is up almost 6% over that time, besting the Dow by more than 6 percentage points.

Write to editors@barrons.com

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