Barclays (BCS) analyst Brian Johnson warns in a research report Tuesday that the automaker’s Model S sales may have peaked in the U.S. Using third-party data collectors, Johnson estimated that Tesla (TSLA)’s Model S demand is softening nationwide, forecasting Q1 sales of 3,800 cars, compared with 4,100 in Q4. The sales deceleration, notes the analyst, is putting the burden on the company’s China market for continued revenue growth.[via Barron’s] “We believe that Model S demand in the U.S. has plateaued, leaving international sales to pick up the growth slack. Within International, with seemingly soft European sales outside of Norway, Tesla will be dependent on strong Chinese demand,” Johnson wrote. “While we expect strong initial interest from early adopters in China, we see challenges to broader luxury market adoption.”
Last month, Tesla reported deliveries of 6,892 Model S vehicles during Q4’13. As the automaker’s deliveries in the U.S. have slowed, Johnson is forecasting sales of “6,600 vs. guide of 6,400 units”.
Johnson also said he expects a beat of 16 cents vs. consensus of 13 cents for 1Q’14.
Shares of Tesla motors have gained almost 3% to $213.55 at 2:20PM EDT today. The stock has been on a tear, rising to a high of $265.00 a share this year, way up from a 52-wk low of $40.33.