Hundreds Of Teslas Are Piling Up In A Vacant Mall Parking Lot

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Hundreds of Tesla vehicles parked at a shuttered mall outside St. Louis have residents asking, “What the hell are they doing there?”

They’re not the only ones, either. Twitter users have picked up on the large number of EVs sitting on the lot, even prompting some to wonder if Tesla is suffering from a demand problem. Fortunately, a local news station has since investigated and has shed some light on the situation.

Initial reports indicate that more than 400 Tesla-branded vehicles were parked in the lot of the former Chesterfield Mall. The parked vehicles included an internet-counted 58 Cybertrucks. When the local news station reported on the matter, they counted “dozens” of Cybertrucks scattered among the various other models.

As it turns out, a Tesla service center is about three miles from the mall. The idea is that the lot is being used as overflow for new cars delivered at the closest service center, which is around 2.5 miles from the mall. The result is a “Tesla farm at the old Sears.”

Hundreds Of Tesla Vehicles Parked Outside Chesterfield Mall

“One of our users happens to be Tesla, who does have a dealership in the valley but does not have enough capacity to park all of the cars they are bringing in,” confirmed Tim Lowe, senior VP of the Staenberg Group, which owns the mall, “So they are renting the space.”

Now, the local service center has the capacity to park about 135 vehicles (including customer cars). It’s not clear just how full the lot is at the moment, but historical satellite imagery shows that the lot is often more than half-filled with vehicles. Locals say that it’s not uncommon for Teslas to be parked at the shuttered mall, but the number of cars in recent weeks has skyrocketed. So why the sudden uptick in mall-parked Teslas?

Workers at the local Service Center told local news that its lot is “not big enough to handle the growing inventory.”

After Tesla published its first quarterly earnings report for 2024, some speculate that the “inventory,” the term Tesla employees have reportedly used to describe the vehicles in the mall lot, represents excess cars that Tesla has not yet sold. Recent news out of Germany indicates that a local airport has been turned into a storage facility for potentially thousands of new cars. If true, this may indicate that Tesla is experiencing a rather serious demand problem.

It’s unclear just how many vehicles Tesla has in inventory today, as the automaker revamped its inventory system in North America last Summer to allow for duplicate “dummy” VINs to be scraped from its website. It’s estimated that the inventory in North America is slightly elevated (around 3.8%) versus Q1 2024.

To compound the increased inventory theory, the automaker recently cut over 10% of its workforce, including factory workers, at its production facility in Austin, Texas, where the Cybertruck and Model Y are built. Tesla also recently told Cybertruck employees that their shifts would be shorter, cutting back approximately 10% of its production hours.

Last quarter, Tesla built an excess of 46,561 vehicles, equating to around 10.7% of its total production. For comparison, Tesla had an excess of around 2% for the entire year of 2023, including 2.1% in Q4, 2.8% in Q2, and 4% in Q1—Q3 had more sales than vehicles produced.

Tesla also warned investors of “notably lower growth” in 2024, a hit to prepare for a bloodbath for its new vehicle sales throughout the year. Couple that with recent bad press from the layoffs and news that Tesla would slow down Supercharger rollouts, and it could spell even worse numbers than anticipated.

The Chesterfield Mall is slated for demolition in the fall. That means that Tesla may need to solve its demand problem by then, churn through cars quicker, or find another spot to store cars. Until then, people may continue to see vehicles pile up in the wild.

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