One of the bigger and perhaps more believable claims from Tesla* critics in the investment/media world in the past few weeks has been the claim that Tesla Model S demand is weakening. When asked about Model S demand on Tesla’s quarterly conference call, which concluded moments ago, Tesla execs indicated that demand was very good and something they were happy about, basically refuting any baseless (i.e., pulled out of thin air) criticisms on this matter.
In Tesla’s Q4 2015 letter to shareholders, the company indicated that it Q4 Model S orders (not deliveries, but orders) grew 35% in the 4th quarter. Nothing to complain about!
As just noted, Tesla was #1 in the large luxury car segment in the US in 2015, increasing 51% year over year while all the other cars in that segment lost sales year over year. While there was some concern about the Tesla Model X unveiling cannibalizing (or at least eating into) Model S demand, Elon Musk and JB Straubel have indicated that the reverse happened — Model S demand rose considerably with the unveiling of the X, presumably because the X brought more eyeballs to Tesla, and maybe also because many people who were on the line between a Tesla sedan and a Tesla SUV decided to go for the sedan.
As I wrote moments ago, Tesla has basically been trying to suppress Model X demand, since it is so production constrained at this point, so demand for the new vehicle clearly is not a concern for the company either.
In other words, certain “analysts” and reporters really flopped on that one… or simply achieved what they intended: stimulated FUD regarding Tesla.
Here are Tesla’s own words on the Q4 order boost:
New Model S orders grew over 35% year on year in Q4, with growth in all regions. Even with this growth, we believe that we remain substantially underpenetrated in all of our markets because of our limited retail presence. Additionally, we continue to see no perceptible impact to our order growth from the change in the price of gasoline as our order rates have continued to increase even as the price of gasoline has fallen. In fact, our customers tell us they value a Tesla vehicle more for its superior performance, technology, safety, lower environmental impact and style than for its ability to save money on fuel. We are also seeing this with the strong demand for pre-owned Tesla vehicles, which are trading at prices higher than our expected residual values. This residual performance is enabling our financing partners to reduce both lease and monthly loan payments
Model X reservations grew over 75% as compared to the prior year despite extremely limited initial exposure for this vehicle.
As I’ve noted many times, the better consumer experience EVs have to offer is what will ultimately lead to an EV revolution, and Tesla is at the head of the pack in offering a superb consumer driving and charging experience:
*Full Disclosure: I’m an investor in Tesla (TSLA). That is, I own stock in the company and don’t intend to sell it for at least 10 years. As such, I may be biased, but I have enthusiastically covered Tesla for much longer than I’ve been a shareholder and I don’t aim to move the stock price with my words. Frankly, I just write about what I find interesting and important. I think Tesla will be a long-term success for a handful of obvious reasons. I also fully support its mission. These are the reasons I’m long TSLA.