Tesla does not publish its sales per region, and certainly not in advance. But we, the obsessive Tesla watchers, have our secret methods to determine what is happening.
Long, long ago, in the times of the Model S & X, the vehicles were shipped in containers. The container could go to Florida, to Abu Dhabi, or to anywhere else in the world. Nobody knew. But in these more Enlightened Times, we have roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) ships going to Europe or East Asia. We can guess, using the time they spend loading, how many cars are on board. We know what harbors they will visit. We have an indication of what Tesla is doing before we see sales numbers.
The first three quarters of this year, only 4 RoRo ships visited San Francisco harbor in the first month of the quarter. In this fourth quarter, it will be 8 ships. The loading time for the ships headed to Europe is about the same as previous loading times. The loading times for the ships with the destination East Asia (that is, China, South Korea, and perhaps Japan) is longer than previously.
We have also heard that Tesla is trying to flatten the delivery peaks, and we have seen expected delivery dates in the USA going from 2 weeks to 10 weeks. All in all, we see that Tesla is serious in attempting to rationalize its logistics.
In previous quarters, we have seen Tesla replenish its USA inventory in the first month of the quarter, because the USA is a build-to-stock market, followed by a crazy rush to get as many as possible to Europe and China for delivery before the quarter’s end. In the wake of that rush, near the end of the quarter, the attention again shifts onto the USA as Tesla tries to deliver all that’s in stock and all that could be produced before the last day of the quarter to waiting customers.
This quarter is different. I hope it is not just some end-of-incentives rush to be friendly to some customers. I hope it is also a better way of planning production and logistics. After being smarter with investments, Tesla should get smarter with production and logistics. Wall Street won’t like it, but it is good for investors and the bottom line.
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