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"We need your help to make more progress in volunteer sign ups," wrote Sanjay Shah, Tesla's senior vice president, in a company email on Friday to department heads, according to Business Insider. "We have to deliver 30,000 more cars in next 15 days."
A quarter-end crunch to get vehicles out the door isn't a new practice for Tesla. Toward the end of its third quarter of 2018, the company invited Tesla owners to help educate new customers as deliveries rose to record levels. During Tesla's fourth quarter, the electric-car maker even purchased some trucking companies to avoid a trucking shortage as quarter-end deliveries ramped up.
Tesla delivered about 91,000 vehicles in its entire fourth quarter of 2018. Squeezing 30,000 deliveries into 15 days, therefore, would require a herculean effort.
Tesla's production and deliveries have skyrocketed recently as the company's new Model 3 finally stabilizes at mass-market production levels. Trailing-12-month vehicle deliveries are up 138% year over year for Tesla, with about 71% of those deliveries taking place in the last two quarters. Building a network to support significantly higher volumes of deliveries has come with some challenges, particularly since Tesla is simultaneously trying to cut costs to boost profitability.
As 2019 unfolds, investors should watch to see whether Tesla takes steps to spread out deliveries more evenly throughout its quarters, reducing its dependence on volunteers and intense quarter-end activity. Unless Tesla can add to its delivery team throughout the year, challenges may persist. The automaker expects a huge jump in deliveries, with management guiding for total 2019 deliveries of 360,000 to 400,000. That implies 45% to 65% year-over-year growth.
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