Elon Musk: Global Tesla Model S Sales Hit Record High In September; Up 65% In North America

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 49

Elon Musk Issue Correctional Tweet Aimed At Inaccurate Wall Street Journal Article

Elon Musk Issue Correctional Tweet Aimed At Inaccurate Wall Street Journal Article

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

In throwing the smackdown at a inaccurate article by the Wall Street Journal, Tesla Motors’ CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to dispel the falsities.

The Wall Street Journal wrote:

“With sales of its electric sedan declining in its home market, Tesla Motors Inc. this week launched U.S. incentives that cut its monthly lease price and aim to convince potential customers that buying the car is a safe financial bet.”

If you’re the Wall Street Journal, then you should know that if you state that Tesla sales are declining, than you should be damn sure you’re right.  As it turns out, WSJ was wrong, but the Journal mostly placed the burden on Ward’s Auto. Per the WSJ article:

“Tesla, however, is facing declining sales in the U.S., according to WardsAuto.com, an industry publication that tracks auto company data.”

From this spat between WSJ and Elon Musk, we’ve learned the following:

  • Tesla Model S sales hit a record high worldwide in September (though we stilldon’t know what the actual figure is)
  • Tesla Model S sales improved by 65% year-over-year in September in North America
  • It’s not wise to report inaccurate Tesla sales figures
  • Elon Musk can even take down the Wall Street Journal with just 1 Tweet (or maybe 2 – see below)
Elon's 2nd Tweet Aimed At WSJ

Elon’s 2nd Tweet Aimed At WSJ

We’re rather certain that when Musk read the WSJ article, his immediate response was as follows:

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49 responses to "Elon Musk: Global Tesla Model S Sales Hit Record High In September; Up 65% In North America"

  1. Mark B. Spiegel says:

    As often happens with his selective data, Musk did NOT respond to what the WSJ article said, which was that YEAR-TO-DATE U.S. sales THROUGH September were down 26%. If you notice, Musk’s response was about the month of September ONLY, which followed the August plant closing and thus had a lot of “make-up” sales.

    1. GuyMan says:

      It’s all smoke and noise at this point, by both Elon and the WSJ – The much more interesting data will come out on 11/5 (next Weds) when Q3 earnings are released.

      Then we can have an adult discussion about how demand/production, etc. are doing in the US and WW – otherwise we all just guessing about numbers, and Elon is likely to have a better grasp of reality at this point

      Unless you have better numbers – the InsideEV’s number shows the US sales as around 11K (2014) versus 14K (2013) – Which is obviously a drop, in the US – But given WW sales, it will be interesting to work with real numbers next week – and understand if TSLA is still production (read battery) constrained

      1. Jay Cole says:

        I am loathe to get into any “behind the scenes Tesla US sales” discussion (we do that monthly here in an effort to track overall US sales by model), but I think in this case Musk was trying to get ahead of the “declining” US market part of the story.

        As we noted in our monthly reports, starting in June, Tesla shifted to international deliveries, as well as a plant update/upgrade…which admittedly didn’t seem to go quite as smooth as planned, which ended up goosing September US sales higher than expected (and August lower).

        While Tesla sales will soon be a ‘what is the demand’ story ending out this year, up until this point Tesla has pretty much produced to the number they have wanted to report…but only on a global level, they seem fairly unconcerned with month-to-month US sales.

        I imagine because of this little dust-up we will get a US estimate for next quarter sales in the US, as the early returns are showing marked improvement over Q4 2013.

        1. Mark B. Spiegel says:

          Europe is also “trending awful” and it’s unclear how many unsold (to final users) cars were shipped to China, as there is apparently a supply of them available from resellers and now even from Tesla itself, via Alibaba.

          And Musk outright lied in his second Tweet re. the new lease terms not affecting Tesla’s revenue. In fact, there are significant liabilities created for Tesla by both the three-month return policy and the artificially high residual value that is allowing these cheaper monthly payments.

          Elon Musk both accomplishes a lot and lies a lot.

          1. Jay Cole says:

            Again, no debate on what is going to happen in the future here…just what has happened.

            If we started giving out projections/outlook on future Tesla quarterly sales (US or globally) then it would be hard to be seen as impartial on our month-to-month research and reporting on Tesla sales. Right now, it just is what it is.

            Once/if Tesla starts reporting monthly numbers themselves, then you would see lots of articles penned here about how we feel sales are going now and in the future for the company.

            While some others (usually financial media) try to do both, we feel that would be disingenuous. Best day ever for us would be when Tesla just decides to be a ‘big boy’ and report monthly

            1. liberty says:

              I like your impartial numbers Jay. Keep up the good work.

          2. Mint says:

            I thought the residuals were a lot higher too, but after working through the numbers (including tax credit and down payment), it’s only a few percent, i.e. ~52% for the 60kWh, and lower for the others.

            You gotta realize that Tesla’s old lease wasn’t a typical 36 month lease. It was a 66 month loan (which results in higher monthly payments) paired with the RVG. At the time of the buy-back, your loan balance is less than the RVG value.

          3. Mike says:

            You’re confusing your speculation with a Musk lie.

            “And Musk outright lied in his second Tweet re. the new lease terms not affecting Tesla’s revenue. In fact, there are significant liabilities created for Tesla by both the three-month return policy and the artificially high residual value that is allowing these cheaper monthly payments.”

            Both points to which you speculate, is speculation. Liabilities in your mind, until proven otherwise.

          4. Jouni Valkonen says:

            Mark, it is odd that you still continue predicting future although so far you have been dead wrong with every single sentence that you have said on Tesla’s near term future in your whole life. So, you have horrible track record with predicting even few months ahead.

        2. Anton Wahlman says:

          All of this hoopla could easily be remedied if Tesla just reported the same numbers all other automakers do. Each month, within four days, they report US sales for the previous month. Tesla should provide the same industry-standard transparency. They would gain so much credibility with the investment community. Probably the auto press corps too.

          1. Big Solar says:

            Maybe, but lets hope they don’t do anything else like these Transparent car companies.

          2. pjwood says:

            You can’t have much stomach for politics, if two sources being truthful about how they characterize things is something you take for “lies”.

            Monthly reporting is a distant second, to what drives media reporting on Tesla.

            1. Bonaire says:

              Tesla relies on translucency. If it weren’t for the hidden order book, hidden sales profile, the hunting around for best guesses on monthly sales, the lease dancing and the Chinese “where did they go?” situation – there would be very little to talk about. This is something of a combination of Wizard of Oz and Emperor’s new clothes.

              The web site states if you order now, you can get delivery by December. How does that foretell the 2015 sales cycles?

    2. Big Solar says:

      I am assuming “sales are down” is because of the close of the factory during that time.

      1. Anon says:

        And sales “are up” when it came back online… Smooth the data and the increase is probably really 15%.

        1. Big Solar says:

          Another big attribute is the fact that they are selling worldwide and making US buyers wait in most cases. I would also like to point out that Tesla is doing better than any other startup car maker in almost a century.

      2. pete g says:

        Sales are down because almost all of the June and July production was shipped to either Europe or China. There is still a waiting list for the cars.

        Rupert Murdock’s WSJ has just become an other arm of Fox. They should rename the paper. Love letters to the fossil fuel industry and other right wing talking points.

        1. pjwood says:

          +1 The reporters/reporting can be First Class, but the editorial staff has gone off the deep end. Politics and cause have gotten way in front of financial news. It makes the market less efficient, in a good way 😉

          1. Mike says:

            All Murdoch “news” sources, are pure commercial sales vehicles. In other words, you always need to ask “who is the buyer” of this “news”.

            – Wall Street Shorts

        2. ffbj says:

          It’s certainly correct that the objectivity of the WSJ is not what it used to be, after the Murdock deal, in regards to certain industries.
          Sad but true.

          1. Stimpacker says:

            + 1 to you both.

            WSJ is also EXTREMELY hostile to Solar PV.

            It’s no longer an objective fact reporting publication – it’s been hijacked to be a political mouthpiece.

    3. Bonaire says:

      Musk is a crafty wordsmith. Good for a 1-2 year busy cycle. Won’t last ongoing. But it was a good ride for those who benefitted from the stock pumping the last year.

      1. Bonaire says:

        Price improvement comes from US bank applying the 7500 tax credit to the lease deal. Prior lease did not do that. In fact, the prior lease was not even a lease. The owner had to pay off the loan by month 36-39 and return the car to Tesla with title in hand for the buy back to work. It was a 3 year repurchase agreement. This new lease is finally a typical car lease program.

    4. jon doe says:

      Musk will say whatever it takes to fool the stocks holders and consumers.

    5. liberty says:

      Actually its selective data by a bunch of the shorts, which WSJ should check before printing. THe shorts idea is sales peaked in the US and the company is doomed. The september sales figurs kills this idea. I don’t think musk would have responded so fast if wsj had written sales have been down this year as tesla used all of its capacity to expand overseas. Now after retooling american shipments will increase. That is more complicated and correct than the shorts want to admit.

      1. See Through says:

        Actually, it was selective reply by Musk too. While WSJ was talking about YTD sales till Sept 14 and was indeed correct (check monthly sales on this site), Musk’s reply was about September only, which makes no sense. Since he didn’t deny the YTD drop, we are now sure the YTD drop as claimed by WSJ is correct.

        The overseas expansion is a consequence, not a cause, of the drop in US sales.

  2. Robert says:

    Waiting 2 months for the Model is still buckets faster than first Roadster and first Model S owners had to wait, And a better investment than my stab at Silver commodities investing: Money call #2 killed mine!

  3. Mike says:

    Musk’s Longer and Longer Successful Track Record is getting the shorts nervous.

    His last trick, 4 wheel drive that makes the car More Efficient. That’s got to make the oil money perspire.

    1. Big Solar says:

      Yeah, as far as I can tell the awd was a good idea especially since MX is taking longer than suspected. Tesla is however much much faster at bringing decent EVs to market than anyone else in this country.

    2. Bonaire says:

      Slightly more efficient, almost as slight as the low drive height on the highway.

      Dual wheel drive was done now to grab Model X order folks onto Model S DWD now. Pull those buyers back to keep the activity going while finishing up Model x design. Honestly, I don’t think this is going as well as many think. The P85D is there for the supercar style buyer who must have it all – someone who flashed their AMG to admirers. But seriously, who needs that much power? They want it, but nobody needs it.

      Good luck to Tesla in 2015 to maintain the order rate. They are already leaning to leases and inventory cars to maintain face. Not sure if they can save face in the long run unless they get Model 3 out early and cheaper than “promised”. We all know it will be $40K and offer $20-35K in options upgrades.

      1. Omar Sultan says:

        So 30 additional EPA-rated miles is “slight” in your book – good to know….

        1. Mint says:

          It’s not 30 EPA miles. It’s 10 miles at 65 MPH steady state, i.e. 4%.

      2. Mint says:

        Nobody needs anything better than 15s 0-60, but that’s far slower than the average. New cars aren’t sold on need. They’re sold on desire.

        The high performance version is a halo car to boost the image, like the M5 for BMW’s 5 series. It makes the Model S “the fastest accelerating sedan ever” – even faster than the $180k Panamera Turbo S.

        You can’t sell cars for $100k without image, and Tesla doesn’t have the benefit of heritage/history.

      3. Alonso Perez says:

        The extra power is something I don’t care about, nor should normal people.

        But 4WD is important for snow, ice, even more sophisticated traction control, and so on.

        It’s also four wheel regen, by the way, which probably contributes to the extra range.

        The D, even a 60, is simply an amazing car.

        1. Foo says:

          As things stand right now, most Tesla owners aren’t “normal people”.

  4. Eideard says:

    Anyone with confidence in WSJ #’s under King Rupert is a fool. Plain and simple.

  5. jmac says:

    A recent Hybrid Cars article about Model S sales projects 50,000 on or about November first.

    If true, that would leave Tesla with about 10,000 vehicles to build and deliver by January First, since the magic number of 60,000 built by years end is a figure often mentioned.

    So, if Tesla hits 60K it will also mean they have achieved their 35,000 production goal for the year.

    http://www.hybridcars.com/tesla-on-track-to-sell-50000th-model-s-this-month/
    ————————-

    The Prius plug-in PIP has sold 61,630 cars world wide, even more than Tesla. If you follow PIP sales for 2013 and 2014 on the Inside EVs Monthly Plug-in Sales Scorecard you will see PIP sales see-saw up and down and are all over the place, for the entire two years.

    In fact PIP sales are down significantly from May:

    2692 May
    1571 June
    1371 July
    818 August
    353 September.

    In spite of slow, up and down, irregular sales, no one seems to be predicting that the PIP will soon blow away.

    But, if Model S sales zig-zag like Prius PIP sales, there is no end to evil speculation, with doom and gloom predictions as to how long it will take before Tesla goes into receivership.

    I’m pretty much convinced the PIP an Model S are both going to be around for a while.

    But, will the Model S make its production goal ?

    The highest issued Model S Vin that appears on the Tesla Motors Forum is 61,830, more than enough, if all current vins are manufactured and delivered this year.

    This leaves 10,000 cars to build and deliver in just 8 weeks, That’s about 1250 cars a week. It sounds do-able.

    Will Tesla meet its own in house projections ? After all, this IS an internal company production goal and he government is not mandating that Tesla must sell 35,000 cars “or else”.

    If they don’t make it, maybe the stock will go down a little which might actually be good since it’s probably over valued any way.

    1. Bonaire says:

      The goal was 35k delivered this year. Printed in the first two ER by Tesla. Not produced. I think delivery now includes placed into distributors hands in china and on lots in service/sales galleries with intention to sell. q3 will be a record sales quarter, about 8000. How on earth will they sell 13000 in Q4 to make 35K deliveries?

      1. Omar Sultan says:

        Now you are making things up. Delivered has a precise meaning–transfer of title so they can recognize the revenue. Cars on trucks, cars on ships, cars in galleries do not count as delivered as they cannot and do not recognize revenue from them. Their pipeline to Europe and Asia is significant and increasing volume exacerbates the gap, which is why built vs delivered comes up every earnings call.

    2. Mint says:

      Thanks for your post.

      From the Tesla VIN thread, it seems the end of June had VIN numbers around 43-45k delivered, while official data was that 39128 have been delivered in total by the end of June.

      So I think Tesla will need to deliver VIN # 65k to have actually delivered 60k cars. The 61500 VINs seem to have been confirmed a month ago, so they needed about 3k more orders (probably complete by now).

      So the data suggests 35k deliveries is definitely doable, despite the naysayers.

  6. ModernMarvelFan says:

    “Tesla Model S sales improved by 65% year-over-year in September in North America ”

    So, it is comparison between Sept 2013 and Sept 2014.

    It has NO information regarding YTD sales compared with 2013 at all…

  7. jmac says:

    Jay is almost dead on with his prediction for September ’14 U.S. Model S sales at 2500.

    Musk said in his tweet that sales have increased 65% over 2013.

    Jay’s estimate for Sept. of 2013 was 1500.

    A 65% increase year over year would be 2475 cars —- just 25 short of the 2500 Jay predicted for Sept. 2014.

    That’s cutting it pretty close.

    1. Bonaire says:

      Jmac, the numbers out of Europe for almost all of Q3 for Tesla sales were generally horrible. Cars must be going to lots over there for speculation sale as they did China. They will produce 60K by year’s end. Will they sell them all? I hardly think so without some end of year closeout or secret password sale on the floor of the galleries to get the deal.

      1. Big Solar says:

        Nobody is building a car to directly compete with model S and it dosent look like they will anytime soon. Seems like Tesla could survive if they only offered model S as long as the SC infrastructure continues to roll out as fast as possible. Please dont say i3 or i8.

    2. See Through says:

      It could be that Musk doesn’t it either; just grabbed the number from insideevs 🙂

      But I’m curious, why wards auto will be off by 1000, since they also track the auto sales.

  8. jmac says:

    Bonaire

    According to your logic, the Prius PIP is also having a terrible 3rd quarter.

    U.S. sales of PIP in May 2014 alone were 2,692.

    But. sales for the entire third quarter of ’14 were just 2,543. Sounds to me like Toyota is having a rough third quarter right along with Tesla.

    ===============================

    PIP sales 2014:

    2692 May
    1571 June
    1371 July
    818 August
    353 September.

    If you go back through the data for PIP sales in the U.S. you will see very erratic, up and down, see-saw results for both 2013 and ’14.

    By the way, PIP sales even in the home country of Japan are also down.

    But, we don’t see the internet ablaze with rumors about the inevitable demise of the Prius plug-in, do we ?

    The facts are that the PIP is third best in all time PHEV sales with 65,300 according to Hybrid Cars. Toyota is not afraid of a few slow months or even a few slow years as their experience with gas-electric hybrids shows.

    When regular hybrid sales tanked in the U.S. for several years after the 2008 Recession, Toyota just went out and sold more of them in other places to make up the difference and Toyota actually increased world wide sales of their hybrids despite the U.S Recession.

    http://www.hybridcars.com/the-worlds-10-best-selling-plug-in-cars/9/

    If Tesla sales have tanked in the third quarter, then so have PIP sales — it’s just that simple.

    The idea that there are tens of thousands of Model S sedans sitting in lots all over Europe is pretty much just pure FUD. I’ve seen no proof to that accusation whatsoever.

    Euro bound Model S go through Tilburg, Netherlands. It should be fairly easy to sneak around and snap some secret photos of acres and acres of excess production stockpiled there in Holland.

    If sales for Tesla have tanked in Europe, then sales for Prius PIP must seem almost non-existent.

    Toyota Prius plug-in sales in Europe for the entire year through September 2014 are just 638 vehicles. This compares with 7,080 sales for the Tesla Model S.

    In fact Tesla sold more cars in September (748) than Prius PIP has sold (638) all year long in Europe.

    There is no evidence that Tesla is “hiding” unsold cars in Europe.

    1. See Through says:

      jmac,
      Toyota PIP is ‘production constrained’ 🙂

      But seriously, PIP is tiny fraction of Toyota sales and no one cares if it goes up or down by whatever percent. Toyota moves whatever car it wants to move by increasing the discounts. Toyota PIP sales have done well recently in US, largely due to green HOV stickers in CA.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        “Toyota PIP is ‘production constrained’”

        So is Tesla. 🙂

  9. Fool Cells says:

    all the clueless anti-tesla shills coming out of the woodwork spewing their lies and misinformation. wow.