The more than 90,000 deliveries that Tesla was able to accomplish in Q4 translates to about 1,000 vehicles per day - a notable feat for such a young carmaker.
Tesla shares tumbled more than 8 per cent at the opening bell, to $304.69.
Its shares fell by about 8% at the start of U.S. trading. The move, created to partially offset a reduction in the federal tax credit for its electric vehicles, underscored the key challenge in what is likely to be a pivotal year for the company and its chief executive officer.
The electric vehicle maker said it would cut the price on its cars by US$2,000, to help make up for USA buyers now being eligible for only a US$3,750 federal tax credit for the next six months, half of what they previously received. Customers can apply to receive the $3,750 federal tax credit for new deliveries starting on January 1, 2019, and may also be eligible for several state and local electric vehicle and utility incentives, which range up to $4,000.
It's not clear how the delivery figures will affect Tesla's fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 earnings, which likely will be announced in February. GM declined to comment.
Xi, Putin exchange New Year greetings
Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) meets with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 30, 2018. Putin, in his message to Assad, "wished the Syrian people the earliest return to peaceful and prosperous life".
The 63 150 Model 3s Tesla handed over to customers in the fourth quarter trailed the roughly 63 700 average analyst estimate. Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives told CNBC that Tesla's failure to meet Wall Street projection was something that his firm had been prepared for: "It was a move that was within the realm of possibility, but it caught investors off guard", he said.
Tesla said it produced and delivered a record number of vehicles. Musk has promised to post sustained quarterly profits. That would mean a $2,000 price cut could eliminate more than half of that gain.
Shares closed down 6.77 per cent, wiping almost $US5 billion ($7.2 billion) off its market value, as the company reported that in the three months to the end of December it delivered 90,700 cars, up 8 per cent on the record set the previous quarter. But the company's ability to sustain a higher level of production - it built 61,394 Model 3s and 86,555 vehicles total in the last three months - will go a long way toward that goal.
'The deliveries are below our estimates and the consensus estimates. "I don't expect that Tesla operates in the black in 2019", Frank Schwope, an analyst with NORD/LB said.