April 22, 2018

Tesla Q4 2017 Vehicle Production and Deliveries

05 January 2018, 01:12 | Lionel James

Tesla sinks after missing Model 3 deliveries by a mile (TSLA)

However the company exceeded its overall sales targets and says it made significant progress in reducing production bottlenecks toward the end of the fourth quarter

The Palo Alto electric auto maker on Wednesday claimed "major progress" in resolving production bottlenecks for the Model 3, its $35,000 entry-level bid for the mass market. In fact, when the Model 3 was launched, Tesla said it would initially build only the higher-spec, $44,000 model to reduce complications on the assembly line. But early versions of the Model 3 suffered battery quality problems, and it's not clear whether those have been sufficiently resolved. We are adding a good measure of conservatism to allow for it not to be linear and estimate Q1 production of 18,000 Model 3 cars or an average of 1,385 per week over the 13 weeks.

Tesla delivered a total of 29,870 cars in the fourth quarter of 2017, including Model S, Model X and the new Model 3, the company announced on Wednesday.

Days before the trading update hit investors, Musk reached out to Model 3 customers on Twitter to thank them for standing by the company while they sorted out efficiency issues.

We are actually impressed by this progress as expectations that assumed the software to enable automated Model 3 battery module production would take into early 2018 given they had to start from scratch with a complete software rewrite just a few months ago. Overall deliveries were up from the 25,336 vehicles it shipped in the third quarter, but the all-important Model 3 numbers were well below what analysts anticipated and what Tesla CEO Elon Musk once predicted. Instead it made just 2,425 during the whole quarter. As we previously indicated, we slightly reduced Model S and X production in Q4 because of the reallocation of some of the manufacturing workforce towards Model 3 production, which also caused inventory to decline.

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Tesla Model 3 production ramps from 2,500 in 2017 to greater than 150,000 in 2018.

Suffice it to say, tomorrow's earnings report and accompanying conference call will be extremely illuminating as investors will be keeping a close eye on Model 3 production and deliveries. We intend to achieve the 5,000 per week milestone by the end of Q2. We're also very appreciative of our Model 3 customers, who continue to stick by us while patiently waiting for their cars.

Tesla did note that it made as many Model 3 cars by December 9 as it had in the previous four months combined. Tesla vehicle deliveries represent only one measure of the company's financial performance and should not be relied on as an indicator of quarterly financial results, which depend on a variety of factors, including the cost of sales, foreign exchange movements and mix of directly leased vehicles.

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