Every quarter, Tesla tells the world how many vehicles it has sold. While many other automakers share their details every month, Tesla remains wedded to the idea that it will only share data when the shareholders demand it. That's why, with today's third-quarter results, we learned that Tesla sold over 5,500 Model S EVs in the last three months. That's roughly 1,830 a month, and would put the Model S in the running for best-selling EV in America, except that Tesla's number is for global sales, and this last quarter is when the luxury EV became available in many new markets. In the second quarter, Tesla sold 5,150 cars, 90 percent of them with Supercharging capability.

Tesla has had to "stall" North American demand in order to keep European customers happy.

Shareholders are also rabidly interested in the future, and on a conference call with investors just now, Tesla CEO Elon Musk talked about increasing delivery to Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. In fact, Tesla has had to "stall" North American demand in order to keep European customers happy. As more and more people want a Tesla EV, Musk said, the main supply constraint will be the battery packs. The company recently signed an expanded battery supply deal with Panasonic but Musk did hint that Tesla may need to build its own battery plant at some point. Nothing official was announced, but Musk did say, when speaking about the upcoming, $35,000 Telsa (maybe called the Model E) that, "If we're to produce 500,000 vehicles a year from the former NUMMI plant, then we need cell capacity that is commensurate with that, which is maybe bigger than all the lithium ion production in the world today." He didn't say who would build it, but at some point, Musk said, "There's going to need to be some kind of giga-factory built."

"The key thing is to have the cheaper batteries in place for the third-generation vehicle" - Elon Musk

Speaking of that lower-cost EV, Musk said that it will be cheaper thanks to lower-cost batteries but there will also be other cost cutting measures implemented, hinting that the upcoming car won't be as nice inside as the Tesla's of today. "The key thing is to have the step-change [cheaper batteries] in place for the third-generation vehicle," he said, "but that would benefit the Model S and the premium line of cars as well."

On Tesla's deal with Daimler, the company says that the "development program" will be done in early 2014, after which the company will work on "start of production to support market launch by Daimler in 2014." Musk did say the B-Class EV would be a "great car" and called it the "most compelling affordable electric car on the market." On the topic of the two recent Model S fires, the shareholder letter doesn't address it direcatly, but it does speak about safety and say that, the "Model S has the lowest probability of injury of any car ever tested."

In the hours before the 3Q results were announced, TSLA stock was bouncing up and down from a high of $181.43 to a low of $171.36. In after-hours trading, the stock dropped like a rock, losing almost 11 percent as of this writing. By the time you read this, it'll certainly change again, as this is one volatile stock. As you go check that out, you can get the PDF here or look at the letter in our gallery and see the results of the last two quarters here and here.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 82 Comments
      raktmn
      • 1 Year Ago
      Grendal, that missing 900 would pretty much exactly match my expectations of how much the delay in the pipeline would slow sales being booked. The crazy part is that the production costs of 900 cars (nearly a third of a month worth of production) are still showing up in this quarter's costs. This means their real profits are much higher this quarter. This is a one-time cost of starting up a new distribution chain. In future months, this will disappear as sales and construction even out on both ends of the quarter.
      Smoking_dude
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well GERMAN so called experts say that teslas results were very disappointing and thus the aftermarket stock tumbled. you can vote me down now but I will quote them - because they are nuts: "Tesla fällt nach Rekordquartal tief obwohl der Umsatz fast neunmal so hoch war wie im Vorjahreszeitraum. Der kalifornische Elektroauto-Hersteller Tesla kann die hochgesteckten Erwartungen nicht erfüllen. Obwohl das Unternehmen im dritten Quartal die Rekordzahl von 5500 seiner Elektrolimousinen Model S ausgeliefert hat, rauschte die Aktie am Dienstag nachbörslich um 11 Prozent in die Tiefe. [..]. Dan Galves, Analyst bei der Deutschen Bank, beispielsweise rechnete mit 5850 Auslieferungen." Tesla's stock tubles after record quarter, although the turnover beeing nine times higher than last year. The californian carmaker could not fullfill the high expectations. Although the company managed to sell the unmatched amount of 5500 electric model s sedans during the 3rd quarter, the stock fell 11% during after-hours. [..] Dan Galves, Deutsche Bank analyst, expectes 5850 deliveries. Source: http://www.handelsblatt.com/unternehmen/industrie/elektroautos-tesla-faellt-nach-rekordquartal-tief/9034046.html that is the truth. - The demand is higher than tesla can churn out the cars. They have an unmatched EV with their own charging network. This network is UP AND RUNNING! No H2 Pipedream - no fuss about incompatible sockets. - so because of 350 cars tesla is no regarded a FAILURE!!! Those analysts even compare the model S with the porsche panamera plugin 300 vs 21 miles. telsa is going to have a tough fight in germany. I really want to see the analysts faces if the supercharger is on line. ;-) they have no clue
        sjmoo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Smoking_dude
        I'm not going to down vote you, but your interpretation of that information is biased. Completely removing Tesla as an automaker from the equation, a difference of 350 units from analyst estimates is an over 6% shortfall. That is a huge difference as far as financial analysts are concerned. Likewise, a comparison with the Panamera is completely valid as they are nearly identical products (in both layout and price). However, Porsche was able to move more units than it expected during the same time period. As a result, it makes analysts happier. From an automotive perspective absolutely the Model S is superior to the Panamera plug-in. However, Tesla missed its analyst forecast and thus its stock took a hit. There is no conspiracy here. This is just business. Next quarter they may very well exceed estimates and their stock will get a bounce in the other direction.
          Val
          • 1 Year Ago
          @sjmoo
          Yeah, analysts like that must be laughing all the way to the bank, after causing such a spike and selling high...
      raktmn
      • 1 Year Ago
      Tesla Motors, Inc. – Third Quarter 2013 Shareholder Letter: • Record 5,500 Model S deliveries • Gross margin increased to 21% (non-GAAP) excluding ZEV credits • Net income (non-GAAP) of $16 million • Major WW expansion of service centers, stores and Superchargers • Cash balance nonetheless increased by $49 million to $796 million • Ramping production to meet growing demand in 2014
        d
        • 1 Year Ago
        @raktmn
        Non-GAAP I made $65k last year and should have $65k in the bank, but these pesky things called taxes and bills got in the way. They are called Generally Accepted Accounting Principles for a reason, and within GAAP there are enough loopholes to make a corporation that lost hundreds of millions look like they pulled in a tidy profit. Amazon, Netflix, etc. Cash balance is a bogus metric because it depends on when the invoices were paid. There are all kinds of games accountants can play to make it look like a company has cash when it really doesn't. Tesla's favorite accounting tactic is booking the full EV credit for cars that haven't even been sold. Forward booking expected sales in future quarters during the current quarter is a favorite as well. If you doubt anything I've said you really need to start looking into how publicly traded corporations make up numbers. Remember Enron had billions, until it turned out is was all fake accounting.
          raktmn
          • 6 Months Ago
          @d
          d -- the only problem with your post is that nothing in it is true. Tesla is not forward booking sales. In fact, they put in SEC papers that they are actually much more conservative about what they will allow to be booked as a sale compared to other car companies. Every single bit of the paperwork, including bank processing of the loan must be fully complete before a sale is booked. Industry standard is less strict, where the day the contract is signed is good enough for every other car company (despite contracts that sometimes fall through because of loans falling through). Tesla cannot resell their EV credits until CARB recognizes them as having been earned. Tesla has actually sold FEWER credits than they have earned in previous quarters. What is glaringly missing from your post, is any mention of Tesla's lease program on there GAAP numbers. Since you clearly have no clue what you are talking about, go read Tesla's 8-K SEC papers filed yesterday, and read for your self how the difference between GAAP and non-GAAP is mostly due to how GAAP handles leases, and how this has grossly distorted the GAAP numbers, making them nearly meaningless.
          purrpullberra
          • 6 Months Ago
          @d
          Yep, Tesla is Enron. Get out while you can. ;-) Thanks for the shot of paranoia.
          purrpullberra
          • 1 Year Ago
          @d
          My point, if they tell you GAAP and non-GAAP and they explain everything to anyone who asks how can you possibly intimate that they are doing anything even slightly nefarious? Enron had nothing and traded nothing with idiots ending up as one of the worst corporate boondoggles ever. Tesla is diametrically opposed to Enron in every single way imaginable.
      raktmn
      • 1 Year Ago
      I was actually expecting a drop in delivery numbers due to overseas ramp-up. Because Tesla cannot book their sales in Europe until partially constructed cars in the US take a slow boat ride to the Netherlands, where they have to go through an additional manufacturing step. (This is required because of EU tax rules.) Then they have to be put back on transports to goto customers. This means that a whole bunch of cars built in Q3, won't get delivered until Q4. In theory, this should have reduced Q3 sales numbers due to that ramp-up delay. But to get one thing clear, at 550 units/week, having their delivery numbers being short 350 units represents less than just FOUR DAYS worth of delays in units in production being delivered....
      bluepongo1
      • 1 Year Ago
      Giga-factory... Great Scott !!!! :-)
      Andy Grey
      • 1 Year Ago
      TSLA is a bubble of EPIC proportions!
        Joeviocoe
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Andy Grey
        I am seeing that word thrown around by more and more ignorant people. Such black and white thinking. It's either a Bubble, or a Buy. Yes, TSLA is overvalued. But it's not "bursting". It will be overvalued for a while, until Tesla's growth catches up to its valuation.
        Grendal
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Andy Grey
        Not really. Even with the 10% hit they are still way above expectations. Tesla is not a bubble because they have a spectacular product with worldwide demand.
        raktmn
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Andy Grey
        Yawn. TSLA is back at levels they were at 2 months ago. Crying about a stock giving back just 2 months of gains, and declaring it a bubble of epic proportions is pretty shallow analysis. TSLA is volatile, and will continue to be volatile until the rollout of the Model X and Gen III cars are done.
        Val
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Andy Grey
        Musk himself said the stock is overvalued, and will have to go down sooner or later. But it won't come crashing down, it's a growth stock, like what apple, microsoft and some others used to be.
      Kuro Houou
      • 1 Year Ago
      I want a Model E that does 300 miles!! 0-60 under 6 seconds. 1/4 mile under 15.5 and doesn't look like a POS Leaf/Prius/Volt/BMW pigI3. Not hard numbers to beat for a electric car. Probably all wishful thinking but I think its possible.
        RoyEMunson
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Kuro Houou
        LOL... My Volt doesnt look like a POS, you SOB! ;-)
        Spec
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Kuro Houou
        I think that is called the Model S.
        Koenigsegg
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Kuro Houou
        Volt is the best looking EV available other than the model s, professor at my school has a model s and a volt so..... stfu
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      A person took an unauthorized picture in the Tesla plant which showed their current weekly production totals: 570 per week. They also guessed that there are 900 cars unaccounted for. Some or all of those cars are probably headed for Europe and can't be counted. It is guesswork but those people have been pretty accurate so far.
      ferps
      • 1 Year Ago
      Tesla's biggest short-term issue is that demand far exceeds their production capacity. In the long term the biggest issue may be that other automakers ape their success and sell something very similar in greater volume through their established dealer networks. There are already rumors of a BMW i5 to compete with the Model S.
        Grendal
        • 6 Months Ago
        @ferps
        No one has put anything even remotely as all around great as the Model S. So far it's in a class by itself. Even the super sporty looking i8 doesn't have the numbers that the Model S has. I just don't see anything on the horizon that competes head to head with the Model S. I expect the same to happen with the Model X and Model E as well. It's not impossible but I sure haven't seen anything even in concept phase. That means that Tesla has the lead on them.
          jeff
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          I agree no one can currently compete with Tesla on the Model S or X. The closest is the ELR (WAY TOO EXPENSIVE) and the i3 (Quirky looks and limited EV range). Neither offer comparable performance. As for the GEN III, I think the story gets harder to predict. I do not see anyway a GEN III will go into production before late 2017 and most likely 2018. As a result, BMW will have 4-5 years to improve upon the i3. In my opinion, BMW has as good of a shot at the $40,000 EV with a 200 mile range as Tesla does. I guess VW could be a player, but it is hard to take them seriously as they announce, but never deliver...
          pmpjunkie01
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          Volkswagen group should not be underestimated. They are neatly lining up everything needed to go all out on electric vehicles while testing the waters with the Panamera plug in and others. As soon as all their models are based on their new modular platform they can switch propulsion sources around any way they see fit. This can turn into a huge threat to Tesla. I wish Tesla all the best, but their gen 3 is an extremely risky undertaking!
      Grendal
      • 6 Months Ago
      I was probably off base, scott3, about your opinion and position. If so, I'm sorry. That quote from C & D really torqued me off. If I was wrong, then take my statement in response to that quote.
      Card13
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm sure if Tesla built a facility dedicated to car batteries, they would be able to design it in a way that would allow a significant decrease in price. They would also be likely to establish relationships with other automakers as a battery supplier over companies that don't focus on automotive batteries
      evdocmaker
      • 1 Year Ago
      You can drive thousands of miles with a TESLA people do with a little common sense there is never a charging issue. The only charging issues are the ones related to the intelligence of the individual consumer not the car. Hotels for example do not need to have charging boxes. You ask for the manager and the head electrician and they can hook you up and other cars at the same time. They have infrastructure especially any hotel that has a commercial kitchen they have the juice.
    • Load More Comments