New competitors are on the way, too. This year, General Motors is supposed to start making electric versions of its Chevrolet Silverado pickup and Chevrolet Blazer and Equinox sport utility vehicles.
Tesla has also had trouble in China, its largest market, where a local manufacturer, BYD, is now the No. 1 electric vehicle brand. Tesla recently lowered prices in China and reported a global sales total for 2022 that was below analysts’ expectations.
While still hailed for the advanced technologies it packs into its cars, and their sleek styling, Tesla has been slow to add to its model line. It offers only four vehicles, and two are luxury models out of reach of most mainstream consumers. It last introduced a car in 2020, when the Model Y went into production.
Since 2019, Tesla has promised to introduce a pickup, called the Cybertruck, but has delayed its production several times. The company now hopes to begin making it this year. The Cybertruck has an angular, futuristic design and is expected to be sold as a luxury vehicle, which could limit its appeal. In the past, Mr. Musk has expressed a desire to produce an electric car that can sell for around $25,000, but he has laid out no formal plans.
In December, Tesla began delivering a small number of battery-powered semi trucks to PepsiCo, its first customer.
“We see demand problems remaining until Tesla is able to introduce a lower-priced offering in volume, which may only be in 2025,” Toni Sacconaghi, a Bernstein analyst, said in a report this month.
In cutting the prices of its current models, Tesla is indicating that it is willing to concede some profit in order to increase sales volume. The company typically shows gross profit margins of 26 percent — more than double that of some rival automakers — a factor that led investors to bid up its stock, making it the world’s most valuable car company.