Tue, Jan 05, 2016 - Page 15 News List

Tesla hits low-end target, shipping 17,400 autos in Q4


Billionaire Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors Inc hit the low end of its latest target to deliver at least 50,000 vehicles for the year, shipping 17,400 in the fourth quarter.

The maker of electric cars and energy storage devices delivered 50,580 Model S sedans and Model X sport utility vehicles last year, Tesla said in a statement on Sunday.

While that is less than the 55,000 Tesla had projected in a February letter to shareholders, it was within the range of its revised estimate of 50,000 to 52,000 from November.

Tesla’s guidance changed during the year as it grappled with manufacturing more than one vehicle and a steep production ramp. It is producing the two all-electric vehicles on a shared assembly line in Fremont, California.

Musk, the chief executive officer, turned over the first six Model X SUVs to owners at a high-profile event on Sept 29, and the deliveries accelerated over the holidays. It shipped 208 Model Xs in the quarter and produced 507.

“It’s good news,” Ben Kallo, an analyst with Robert W Baird who rates the shares as “neutral,” said in an interview on Sunday. “They hit within their guidance. The X number is lower than some expectations, but production has picked up nicely.”

Musk, who got the first Model X, has been candid about the challenges of engineering and manufacturing the SUV. The vehicle has complex and distinct features such as “falcon-wing” doors, independently operable second-row seats and a large, panoramic windshield.

“Model X deliveries are in line with the very early stages of our Model X production ramp as we prioritize quality above all else,” the company said in the statement. Based on the daily production rate in the last week of the year, weekly output would be about 238 SUVs, Tesla said.

The fourth-quarter deliveries were near the low end of Teslas’ projected range. In its November letter to shareholders, the company had said it expected to ship 17,000 to 19,000 vehicles.

Tesla shares rose 7.9 percent last year, closing at US$240.01 on Thursday last week to give it a market capitalization of US$31.4 billion. The stock had closed as high as US$282.26 in July.

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