Tesla Q4 Exceeds Annual Production Goal, Misses Delivery Target


The Tesla Q4 numbers were a case of good news, bad news. The company announced in a press release on Tuesday that it “produced 24,882 vehicles in Q4, resulting in total 2016 production of 83,922 vehicles. This was an increase of 64% from 2015.” In its earnings call with analysts in November, it said to expect annual production to come in at around 80,000 vehicles, so it exceeded that target by a comfortable margin. At the beginning of 2016, Tesla said it expected to deliver 90,000 cars for the year but later lowered that guidance to 79,000 due to difficulties encountered with getting the Model X into full production.

Tesla Logo

Tesla says it delivered “about 22,000” cars in the fourth quarter — 12,700 Model S sedans and 9,500 Model X SUVs. Both Tesla Q4 production and deliveries were affected by the changeover from first generation Autopilot hardware to the second generation hardware. Normally Tesla simply introduces production upgrades on the fly but the complexity of the changeover from one hardware package to the other required shutting down the production lines for about a week and a half during the quarter. Considering how long production was suspended, the company did well to build as many cars as it did.

Most of the production for the quarter was concentrated in the last 6 weeks. That meant a large number of finished cars were in transit when the quarter ended —  6,450 vehicles. Tesla says “these [vehicles] will be counted as deliveries in Q1 2017.” It said in a statement, “although we tried to recover these deliveries and expedite others by the end of the quarter, time ran out before we could deliver all customer cars. In total, about 2,750 vehicles missed being counted as deliveries in Q4 either due to last-minute delays in transport or because the customer was unable to physically take delivery. Even where these customers had already fully paid for their vehicle, we still did not count these as deliveries in Q4.”

The Tesla Q4 news sent a small ripple through the company’s share price but investors had already anticipated a good but not spectacular quarter. The company now is focusing on maintaining deliveries while it gets ready for production of the Model 3 midsize sedan later this year. Tesla remains one of the most shorted stocks on the New York Stock Exchange, indicating there are lots of people who think Elon Musk will not be able to keep all the balls he is juggling in the air indefinitely. It should be a very interesting year for the upstart maker of exceptional electric automobiles.

Source: Teslarati

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  • zn

    So, just to clarify, the total number of actual Tesla deliveries for 2016 was 76,230. That figure didn’t really come through clearly from this story (sorry Steve).

    • Steve Hanley

      You are correct sir. I think Tesla deserves some slack for cars that are fully paid for but not officially delivered (around 2,500). At the Q3 conference call, the company said about 79,000 for the year. Add in those 2,500 cars on the cusp and you’re as near as dammit to that 79,000 figure.

      Still, officially you are completely correct.

      • zn

        Yeah, I mean, I want Tesla to do well, but missing shipping targets never really looks good. And if I remember correctly, didn’t Tesla say the same thing last year – x number of cars were in transit and so weren’t counted to FY15, meaning those cars should have counted as FY16? Just sayin’.

        • Tim Jonson

          They didn’t miss the target by much, and what they are doing is totally unique, and they’re doing it very well. I think it’s ridiculous to keep carping on the missed target issue, and to put it in the headline is actually misleading.

          • Steve Hanley

            Business Insider agrees with you in an editorial published today. As far as the headline is concerned, I tried to make it as accurate as possible. Most other news sources were jumping up and down about how Tesla totally missed its target and the company is now in dire peril.

          • zn

            It’s not misleading at all. They missed their targets. End of story.

            I understand the point you’re making though. People (nee, investors) don’t seem to care much if Tesla misses sales goals or delivery dates etc, because the nature of their business is so disruptive that the pay off should they succeed will more than enough to make up for a few uncertain quarters of sales.

            And I totally agree with that. But you can’t just discount hard financial data because you believe in what Telsa is doing. I think Tesla is a fantastic company and will most likely succeed in its mission, but it’s certainly not guaranteed they won’t fail.

          • Steve Hanley

            No, it is not. Personally, I think Elon is a genius up there with Edison and his hero, Nikola Tesla. I DO, however, think he narrow his focus a bit and stop jumping around to things like the Hyperloop and the Boring Company!

            Perhaps I am just jealous that he can keep so many large balls in the air while I have difficulty juggling one……..