STORY: As recently as July, Elon Musk said Tesla had no issues with demand.
He said the company’s only problem was building all the cars that customers wanted to buy.
That may no longer be true.
Analysts see early signs of caution for the electric car pioneer.
Top of their list: the fact that Tesla made 22,000 more EVs than it delivered to customers over the latest quarter.
That’s the first time it’s built up such an inventory of stock.
Bar one period during the health crisis, it’s generally sold more than it can make.
Tesla blamed logistics issues for the new inventory buildup.
But the auto industry generally takes such figures as signs of waning demand.
The wait time for a new Tesla has also been dropping in the U.S. and China, its top markets.
Chinese buyers can now sometimes get one just a week after placing an order.
Some buyers there have also been offered rebates to take quick delivery - unusual for Tesla, which resists all kinds of incentives.
The global cost of living crisis may be biting.
Tesla has had to hike prices to levels Musk calls “embarrassing”, potentially putting off some buyers.
It also faces major new domestic competitors in China, such as BYD and Nio.
Now investors await Tesla’s latest results on October 19.
They will be scouring the numbers for any signs that demand is about to slow.