Tesla says Top Gear still hurting UK sales

It's not always easy to tell how a company is performing just by looking at the numbers. In the second quarter of 2011, for example, Tesla Motors revenues hit a record $58 million, with losses of $59 million. This fell just short of Wall Street expectations, and Tesla stock took a beating. In the third quarter, Telsa matched its second quarter revenue numbers, but losses increased to $65 million. However, this was better than analysts had predicted, and Tesla's stock made a sharp turn for the better.
The third quarter losses were expected, since Telsa is still ramping up to produce the upcoming Model S and is also in development of the unrevealed Model X crossover. With the Model S sold out and a possible new deal to supply drivetrains to Daimler, analysts were more than willing to overlook Tesla's current red ink.

When it comes to sales of the signature Roadster, Tesla's numbers look very good overall. Sales of the electric sports car are up 22 percent from a year ago, and Tesla has now moved over 2,000 of the Lotus-bodied beauties. However, there's one area where Tesla's sales have not lived up to expectations. While potential buyers in some areas have have a hard time coming up with a vehicle, there remains a surplus of right-hand drive models.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk had a simple explanation for the EV's underperformance in the UK: he blamed the slow sales on "the continuing adverse impact on the Roadster via reruns of Top Gear."

Though a British court recently ruled that Top Gear's 2008 test drive of the roadster did not constitute libel, the shows summation of the car as something that, "in the real world, it doesn't seem to work" still has Tesla executives fuming. Musk has previously referred to the show as a "complete phony" that is "about as authentic as a Milli Vanilli concert."

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