Tesla cuts prices as 4Q deliveries miss analysts' estimates
By TOM KRISHER, AP Auto Writer
DETROIT (AP) - Shares of electric car and solar panel maker Tesla Inc. tumbled Wednesday morning after the company cut vehicle prices by $2,000 and announced fourth-quarter sales figures that fell short of Wall Street estimates.
The company said in a statement before the markets opened that it delivered over 245,000 electric cars and SUVs last year, nearly as many as all previous years combined.
But it also said it would cut prices of its three models by $2,000 to help customers handle the gradual phase-out of federal electric vehicle tax credits. On Jan. 1 the federal credit for Tesla buyers dropped from $7,500 to $3,750. It will gradually be phased out this year.
The company's deliveries for the full year matched Wall Street estimates, but its figures for the fourth quarter fell short. Tesla said it delivered 90,700 vehicles from October through December. Analysts polled by data provider FactSet expected 92,000. Tesla said fourth-quarter deliveries were 8 percent higher than its previous quarterly peak in the third quarter of 2018.
Tesla shares tumbled more than 8 percent at the opening bell, to $304.69. In the past year they have traded from a low $244.59 to a high of $387.46.
The Palo Alto, California, company's 2018 sales included almost 146,000 Model 3 lower-priced cars and another 99,000 of the more expensive Model S sedan and Model X SUV. The Model 3 starts at $35,000 but still can't be purchased for under $45,000.
The company says it produced nearly 87,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter, also 8 percent above its previous quarterly record set in the third quarter.
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