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Satellite images show Tesla’s massive inventory of unsold cars, massive headache for CEO Musk

It seems that Tesla’s turbulent times are far from over. The electric vehicle giant has been making headlines recently, but not for reasons it might prefer. While the Cybertruck and its polarizing design have drawn plenty of attention and amusement, Tesla is facing a more severe issue: an ever-growing stockpile of unsold vehicles, particularly evident in Austin, Texas.

The company’s struggle to sell cars is becoming increasingly complex to hide, mainly when observed from above.

A news outlet called Sherwood News used satellite imagery to analyze the situation, comparing parking lots of unsold Tesla vehicles in October 2023 to those in March 2024. The comparison revealed significantly fuller lots in March, corroborating Tesla’s Q1 earnings report from April.

The report indicated that the company was producing far more cars than it was selling, with deliveries dropping by 8.5% year-over-year and nearly 47,000 more cars produced than sold. This marked Tesla’s first sales decline since the 2020 pandemic-induced production halt.

According to SkyFi satellite imagery, these unsold vehicles aren’t going anywhere. They sit idle in parking lots, waiting to be shipped. Sherwood News highlighted similar situations across the country, with reports of excess inventory being stored at places like the Chesterfield Mall in St. Louis. SkyFi’s satellite images from May 2024 showed nearly 500 Teslas parked there.

Compounding Tesla’s woes, shareholders are scheduled to vote this week on Elon Musk’s nearly $56 billion compensation package at the company’s annual shareholder meeting. This vote comes after a Delaware judge struck down the pay deal in February, citing Musk’s extensive ties with the board members who approved it.

Alongside voting on Musk’s compensation, shareholders will also decide whether to relocate Tesla’s headquarters out of Delaware. This move would likely distance the company from what Musk believes is an unfavourable judicial oversight there.

The situation paints a rather challenging picture for Tesla. The production surplus suggests that demand may not be keeping pace with the company’s ambitious output. This discrepancy could be a cause for concern among investors, particularly as Tesla navigates these turbulent times with its leadership and strategic decisions under intense scrutiny.

As Tesla contends with these operational and logistical issues, the future of its market strategy and production capabilities will be crucial. The upcoming shareholder decisions could signal significant changes in how Tesla navigates its business challenges, including the potential relocation of its headquarters and adjustments to its executive compensation practices. The outcomes of these votes and the company’s ability to address its inventory glut will be pivotal in determining its trajectory in the competitive EV market.

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