We just received the October edition of the Tesla Motors newsletter and a careful read indicated a very troubling statement near the end:
If you custom-order your car online, in showrooms or by phone today, you could have your car in time for Christmas.
There have been indications for some time that Roadster sales had stalled and for over a year the company has said that they are sold out through about November 2009. While Tesla claims it has been getting new sales, they have yet to announce any new numbers. If you can custom order a Roadster now (late October) for delivery before Christmas, that certainly indicates that nearly all existing orders have been fulfilled. We contacted Tesla spokeswoman Rachel Konrad who told us:
We are just over 850 deliveries. Like all major manufacturers in production (and those who keep books according to generally accepted accounting principles), we count sales and revenue when cars are delivered. Now that we are ramped up in production, we do not provide data on the order.
Virtually all premium carmakers have been hit hard by the recession, but this certainly doesn't bode well for Tesla. They still have at least two years until deliveries of the Model S are scheduled to start and, apparently, significantly reduced prospects for sales revenue in the interim.