Tesla Model S Sets All-Time Sales Record In U.S. In September

2 years ago by Eric Loveday 99

Approximately 2,500 Of These Bad Boys Were Sold In The U.S. In September

Approximately 2,500 Of These Bad Boys Were Sold In The U.S. In September

Tesla's Fremont Factory Was Offline For Awhile, But It Sprung Back To Life In a BIG Way

Tesla’s Fremont Factory Was Offline For Awhile, But It Sprung Back To Life In a BIG Way

In what can only be described as frickin’ truckload after truckload of deliveries, Tesla delivers the most Model S sedans ever in a single month in the U.S.

Those naysayers who insist that demand for the Tesla Model S is waning because of a slower summer US production run can go find a pillow to cry under now.

Here’s our tally for U.S. sales in the month of September:

  • ~2,500 Tesla Model S sedans sold

Some of the previous estimated high water marks for U.S. Tesla Model S sales include:

  • 2,300 – March 2013
  • 2,100 – April 2013
  • 1,800 – July 2013 & June 2014

Prior to the 2,500 Model S EVs sold in September, Tesla had not sold over 1,800 in a single month this year according to our research and if we bump out the 1,800 sold in June 2014, then the next highest single-month sales mark for 2014 was the 1,400 units we penned them down for in February of this year.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

If you check out our September 2014 Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Scorecard (released today), which has all the EV sales data for the US, you’ll find this explanation as to why/how Tesla Model S sales exploded in September:

September was definitely the month of the big comeback after Tesla has foretold that US deliveries would virtually non-existent in July through late August to both deliver the Model S overseas (think China, Japan, UK, etc) and to retool its only production facility in California.

That shut down at its Fremont assembly facility was planned for about two weeks to both prepare for the upcoming Model X, but more specifically to expand Model S production by 25%.

It turned out that the factory work didn’t go all that smoothly, as planned US deliveries of the 85 kWh Model S for late August just didn’t happen, which lead to a lower than expected result in August.  The plant did eventually get pumping – and in a big way – but the earliest set of “new wave” deliveries for the US didn’t happen until late into the second week of September.

However, the intense pressure to meet CEO Elon Musk’s prediction of 7,800 deliveries and 9,000 cars produced has now put US deliveries into overdrive.

“After considering our planned production and the need to have more vehicles in transit (including the new RHD models), we expect to be able to deliver about 7,800 Model S vehicles in Q3. Without the planned factory retooling shutdown, Q3 delivery expectations would have been approximately 9,500 vehicles.”  – Tesla CEO Elon Musk in July

2014 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals from Earnings Report (Q1 Sales reported @ 6,457-3,000 Intl Delivers, Q2 7,579 total-approx reported International registrations) *Fiat 500e data estimated for Jan/Feb

2014 Monthly Sales Chart For The Major Plug-In Automakers *Estimated Tesla NA Sales Numbers – Reconciled on Quarterly Totals from Earnings Report (Q1 Sales reported @ 6,457-3,000 Intl Delivers, Q2 7,579 total-approx reported International registrations) *Fiat 500e data estimated for Jan/Feb

Separately, word on the street is that Tesla was calling in everyone they could to assist with deliveries in September in order to get Tesla back in line for meeting the substantial existing demand for the Model S in the U.S.

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99 responses to "Tesla Model S Sets All-Time Sales Record In U.S. In September"

  1. Big Solar says:

    Holy crap, thats good.

    1. pjwood says:

      I was glad I could help, yesterday.

      1. Josh says:

        Did you just take delivery? If so, awesome. And how about a picture for us.

        1. pjwood says:

          No pics. Dark at pickup and wife’s departure, this morning. That’s it. I’m getting my Volt an adjustable ELR headrest!

          “Good pick-up”. Yes, Hun.

  2. See Through says:

    It’s not surprising. They delivered every order they had on their books, even the last minute ones, to meet the quarterly delivery guidance.

    Also, it comes at the back of 2 dry monthts. If you take thr quarter as a while, this is still lower than quarters in 2013.

    So, yes, Tesla’s run is over.

    1. Jelloslug says:

      Ummm, yea….

    2. Priusmaniac says:

      I’d rather say the start of a steady never ending cruise speed for the Model S in the US. The introduction boom still is on in China and Europe. The Model X will grab a new market in SUV and when the Model III comes along a big jump in the scale of the output numbers will come and open up a whole new horizon.

    3. Mint says:

      “They delivered every order they had on their books, even the last minute ones”

      “So, yes, Tesla’s run is over.”

      Okay, then your prediction is clearly a sales flop in Q4, right?

      Wanna stake your reputation on it? In early 2015, we’ll know. If there’s more than 8000 deliveries, then you never make a comment about Tesla again on InsideEVs.

      1. The Brave Little Toaster says:

        People who say things like this have no reputation, and care even less about whether or not their predictions are true.

        But it *does* generate replies to their posts, now doesn’t it?

    4. Mark Spohr says:

      As a person who ordered a Model S at the end of August and who is (im)patiently waiting for delivery, I’m now being told that delivery will be “December”. I do wish that Tesla had delivered every order on the books but that is far from the truth. There is still a substantial backlog for the Model S.
      I’ve also ordered a Model X and the order book for that is over 20,000.

      1. DaveMart says:

        Mark:

        Congratulations on the great cars you have ordered!

        Squabbles here about the business model and so on are one thing, but there is no question but that you have a fine car on the way – two of them, apparently.

        So enjoy!

      2. See Through says:

        Mark,
        You should have mentioned where you live. If Tesla can’t deliver by quarter end, it estimates “last month of next quarter”. Next quarter, you will probably get a call moving your delivery date earlier. Like ” Come by tonight, we have the car ready for you”.

        So much for customer satisfaction. All that matters to Tesla is, whether it can deliver the car this quarter to keep its bloated share price justified in some fanboys’s eyes.
        If that means, customers have to hang around till 12.00 a.m. on Sept 30 to take delivery, so be it.

        1. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

          don’t hold back, tell us what you really think.

        2. kdawg says:

          Key words “bloated share price”.

          You have shown your cards.

          1. Big Solar says:

            No doubt!

        3. LuStuccc says:

          We see through you industrial disinformer.
          Just take a look here.
          http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/tracking-highest-vins?page=23

          1. Big Solar says:

            Yeah, he’s pretty easy to see through. I guess that’s why he chose the name.

    5. Lensman says:

      You really have to give it to the Tesla haters. They are fearless and determined in their devotion to their FUD in the face of reality.

      Continuing to claim “Tesla’s run is over” even after they upgraded the factory for 25% more production!

      It’s going to be fun watching them continue to move the goal posts, too. “Oh, Tesla’s production doesn’t matter, ‘cuz it’s only 35,000-40,000 a year.” In a year or two it will be “only 100,000.” Then half a million. And a few years later, it will be “Heck, they are only making as many cars as Ford does.”

      It doesn’t matter how many cars Tesla makes; the haters will always try to belittle it. “Oh, it doesn’t matter that Tesla is now making more cars than GM does. It’s still only a small fraction of worldwide annual production!”

      See how that works?

  3. Bonaire says:

    People who got US deliveries in September ordered anywhere from May through as late as first week of Sept for some lucky CA buyers. This is a case of hold-and-explode. Won’t happen in October or November and a bit more HaE in December. Europe deliveries in Sept and Q3 were relatively low. Norway September was only 104. They did 1300+ in March in Norway to end that Quarter.

  4. Mark B. Spiegel says:

    Echoing some of the comments above, the text in this article puts an absurd spin on one month of pent-up deliveries that followed two awful months. Why don’t you brag about the three-month average of (using your figures) 1200 per month?

    1. DaveMart says:

      They’ve been Eric’d! 🙂
      Tesla GOOD!
      Fuel cells BAD! (insert factoid)

      1. Chris O says:

        LOL, an overly optimistic headline like that was bound to get the hydrogen hoaxers irked!

        1. DaveMart says:

          Yep, you would have thought Toyota would know better than to try to pull the wool over the eyes of the sharp dudes here again, after their failure with the Prius!
          What a con that was!

          1. Big Solar says:

            Remember gas infrastructure was already in place when the prius was introduced. Not only is Hydrogen infrastructure practically non existent but it costs a bit more too.

            1. Anon says:

              And another dirty hydrogen station secret that’s never discussed: Maintenance Costs…

              1. Mint says:

                Not really a secret. That’s built into the hydrogen costs of $5-6 per kg that people are touting for the medium term. Toyota is also estimating that.

                Raw energy costs aren’t too high for H2. Wind energy is now 4-5c/kWh, and H2 needs about 50kWh/kg for electrolysis, so that’s ~$2.50/kg. Methane reforming has even lower energy costs.

                The rest is all station capital cost, maintenance, etc.

                1. Jouni Valkonen says:

                  If we have hydrogen available, it is cheaper to synthetize from that hydrogen Diesel or kerosene rather than use it as fuel for hydrogen vehicle.

      2. Eric Loveday says:

        Ha ha…That’s a funny one 🙂

        1. DaveMart says:

          So is Fox ‘News’.

  5. DaveMart says:

    By quarters since Tesla started substantial deliveries in the US
    2012 4th Qtr: 2490
    2013 1st : 4800
    2nd : 4150
    3rd : 4100
    4th : 3500
    2014 1st : 3500
    2nd : 3900
    3rd : 3600

    We will have to wait the figures for China and Europe to tell more, but those in the
    US don’t look to me like those of a product in massive shortfalls of supply, but of a region running at something under 4,000 a quarter after higher initial demand.

    By January we should know whether Tesla was indeed simply supply limited.
    The numbers from China are critical, as they sure aren’t overwhelmed by European demand.

    1. Mark B. Spiegel says:

      We already know they’re not “supply limited” because Musk has said they now have plenty of batteries and yet it’s my understanding that they only run two five-day shifts a week at the plant, and yet put on all kinds of overtime in order to deliver the September cars. If there’s so much demand, why don’t they run three five-day shifts?

      1. Mikael says:

        Because there isn’t very high demand.

        1200 per month seems lika a good US steady demand. About 25k per year there for the Model S is what they can expect and aim to keep.

        If they can manage to get 1200 per month in Europe and in Asia too then it’s 75k/year.

        About the same for the Model X will get somewhere between 120k and 150k as some kind of maxed out demand in that price region. And that is assuming they don’t get some hard competition, like they don’t have been close to yet (and probably wont for another 5-8 years, in total concept that is).

        So if they can keep 1200 a month on average for the Model S in the US then I’m very happy because that is about as much as they can hope for.

        1. DaveMart says:

          1200 a month is ~15,000 a year, so adding on 1200 a month in Europe which ain’t gonna happen and 1200 a month in Asia which may or may not, comes to 45,000 a year, not 75,000

        2. Mark B. Spiegel says:

          “1200 per month seems lika a good US steady demand. About 25k per year there for the Model S is what they can expect and aim to keep. If they can manage to get 1200 per month in Europe and in Asia too then it’s 75k/year.”

          Can you please walk me through that math? Back when I went to school 3600 x 12 equaled 43,200.

          1. DaveMart says:

            You are confusing monthly and quarterly figures, Mark.

            1200 a month is 3600 a quarter.
            Times 4 that is 14,400 a year.

            Tesla actually sold 17,650 in 2013, and the figures are in the same ball park now.

            However in my view sales of the Model X will hit Model S sales hard, as not a lot of garages will want both.

            1. Mint says:

              The Model X will undoubtedly take away a few sales, but there are also a lot of upper-middle class soccer moms/dads that love SUVs and never considered the Model S.

              Porsche sold 84k Cayennes in 2013, which is over half their sales:
              http://press.porsche.com/news/release.php?id=839

              The market is much bigger for this class of vehicle than that of the Model S. I think they’ll easily hit 50k combined sales in 2015, and probably approach 70k.

          2. Mikael says:

            Well, that math is based on a temporary brain seizure. As a member of mensa and with more university credits in math than almost anyone would need in their profession I have only one thing to say, to err is human and I hope you are devine. 😛

            1. DaveMart says:

              I divined the reasoning behind it!

      2. sven says:

        @ Mark B. Spiegel

        “. . . it’s my understanding that they only run two five-day shifts a week at the plant, and yet put on all kinds of overtime in order to deliver the September cars. If there’s so much demand, why don’t they run three five-day shifts?”

        Because there are only 24 hours in a day, and Elon Musk demands that Tesla factory workers work 10-hour shifts five days a week for a 50-hour work week. That leaves only 4 hours downtime per weekday workday.

      3. Rob Stark says:

        Tesla continues to be production constrained not demand constrained.

        The bottleneck is now at Fremont not Panasonic. In the 2016 the bottleneck may very well be at Panasonic.

        They are expanding as fast as they can but Tesla can still not meet demand.

        Tesla will deliver ~7800 units for the 3Q 2014. The most ever. Then deliver ~13,000 units in 4Q 2014.

        1. DaveMart says:

          ‘Tesla continues to be production constrained not demand constrained.’

          That is an interesting theory.
          Have you any evidence for it?

      4. Lensman says:

        What an odd claim to make to say “We know Tesla Motors is not supply limited” simply because they currently have an adequate supply of batteries for their current production rate. A bottleneck could be literally anywhere in the supply chain.

        It’s completely bizarre to see the Tesla haters say “We can tell just by looking at the production numbers that they aren’t supply constrained.”

        Anyone applying just a tiny bit of common sense can see that the months-long waiting time alone is suppressing demand. If Tesla Motors’ sales were not production constrained, if the actual limit was lack of demand, then they they would be delivering them as fast as they could make them. The average time on the waiting list wouldn’t be much more than about two weeks.

        Since the average waiting time to get a Tesla Model S after ordering (or “reserving”) it is about three months, anyone who actually exercises even a small amount of common sense will understand that Tesla Motors continues to be production constrained.

    2. DaveMart says:

      OK, now I have actually got around to breaking out the quarterly US figures there are a couple of things I am now prepared to say, even before Europe and China come in.

      That sales pattern does not look to me like one of unlimited demand as Tesla would have us believe.

      It looks flat or gradually declining, otherwise why not fulfil more of that market before moving into others?

      That move only makes sense if Tesla really knew that their figure of just under 5,000 in a single quarter was pretty much the peak.

      They have only kept a semblance of momentum in sales figures by expanding into Europe and China.

      Europe really is not working, so it all depends on China.
      They can, if they feel like it, swallow everything that Tesla can ever produce.

      Or they may not, in which case the ever-expanding story of Tesla is in deep trouble.

      The Model X is going to hit sales of the Model S in the US hard in my view, as they are in many or even most cases be in straight competition for the same dollar.

      1. Bonaire says:

        The curtain is being pulled back on the great Oz.

      2. Priusmaniac says:

        It is not that Europe is not working, Europe is simply a slow starter but a steep exponential grower. Proof is what happened with mobile phones, tablets, flat screens, etc. It is almost always the same scheme, a slow start and a sudden jump.
        The us tend to be a faster start and a slower jump.
        For the model S sales something must not be overlooked, that is the potential of a price reduction. If batteries cost go down the model s price can go down and that will on its turn move the market threshold point down. The effect is that sales number then go higher which again feeds back on lower battery cost. Standard cars have already completely accomplished this cycle, not so for electric vehicles.

        1. DaveMart says:

          ‘It is not that Europe is not working, Europe is simply a slow starter but a steep exponential grower.’

          And your basis for that assessment?
          US sales started with a bang way before any supercharger network.

          1. Big Solar says:

            Because the cars are made here. If BMW decided to do something cool (cough) such as show that electric cars can be great then the Germans would buy them like US is buying Model S.

      3. Andrew K says:

        I would say European sales are slow for a few obvious reasons.

        1. Supercharging incomplete.
        Say you want to drive from Hamburg to Ystad, Sweden for holiday? You can’t without a lot of hassle. So why give up your 5 series wagon for the Model S? Or London to the Alps for a nice ski holiday? French Superchargers aren’t complete and only 2-stall at the moment. These kind of limitations matter to the luxury buyer, not to mention that making it to Manchester and back to London is a pain in the ass currently.

        So with the completion of the network, the connection of major centers and opening up of holiday destinations sales should increase.

        2. European Economic problems.
        It is not as though the rest of the car industry is doing great in Europe either. Things have been slumped for some time. So are people likely to take a chance on a Model S, when they could just lease another A8 TDi for less money and already know the total costs. Even if it would be cheaper in the long term (4 years) to have bought the Model S?

        Moving on to the USA,

        Yeah, they will have to hit a ceiling at some point. But we won’t know what that is until the Superchargers and Service/Sales locations have hit every metro area with a population greater than 500,000. There are 70+ of those by the way.

        1. DaveMart says:

          Sales in the US were a lot higher than they are now before there was a single supercharger, and way, way higher than in Europe.

          There is no evidence on the figures that demand in the US is any higher than the something under 4,000 a month being produced, and no evidence that European demand it anything like so high.

        2. Anders says:

          You are wrong,
          There are other options to make a holiday trip and most people that I now have more then one car.
          What is interesting is driving every day to work because that is what almost everyone does.
          Noting beats Tesla here the only problem is the price of the car. People don’t get it that they pay for there traveling in advance that is included in the high cost of buying a Tesla model S.

  6. ffbj says:

    Good news is bad news and bad news is worse news. While critics and pundits, read, know it all’s are many, movers and shakers, like Musk and crew are few.

  7. Ryan says:

    Eric Loveday is reporting this like it’s fact. Telsa doesn’t report monthly numbers and won’t report Q3 until November. I share your enthusiasm for EVs but Eric is going overboard with fanboydom. All of the quotes he’s using in the article are old. If Eric wants to be a real journalist he needs to get current quotes that are relevant.

    1. Lensman says:

      InsideEVs is the only public source, on the Internet or elsewhere, making regular monthly sales estimates of the Tesla Model S. They get a “reality check” every three months when Tesla Motors reports its quarterly sales. So far as I have been able to see, their estimates have proven to be reasonably accurate.

      But hey, if you think you can do better, then by all means start posting your own monthly estimates on your own website, so we can compare your accuracy to that of InsideEVs.

  8. JRMW says:

    It’s hard to analyze Tesla’s sales for the reasons mentioned above. It’s also difficult because we count the sales when the product is delivered, which may be months after the product was ordered.

    Obviously you have to do it this way, since not all people who put down a deposit take delivery. But it leads to distortions given the recent slowdown and ramp up in US deliveries based on orders placed from Spring to Present.

    I look at these numbers as being pretty darn good. The Model S sells 10-15x more cars than the other “competition” in its price range (the ELR and the Panamera). And its sales numbers aren’t too far off the other big players: the Volt and the LEAF, which cost about 1/2 to 1/3rd the amount.

  9. JRMW says:

    Tesla S sales will “struggle” for two reasons IMO
    1) People waiting for the Model X
    2) the Porsche Cayenne PHEV.

    Tesla S sales will eventually benefit from an AWD version.
    ====
    Tesla Model S sales: about 8500 through August.
    Porsche 911/918: 7051 total through August Porsche Boxter: 5072 through August
    (sorry Sept numbers not available for Porsche)

    The September bump puts S sales way ahead of either the Boxter or the 911

    I think Porsche is a good barometer for Tesla because people very much cross shop those two brands and sales figures are comparable.

    I see no reason why Tesla can’t/won’t continue to sell about 20-30% more Model S than Porsche’s 911 sales on an annual basis.

    Porsche put out their Cayenne PHEV, which will compete directly with the Model X. Porsche found a huge hit with the ICE Cayenne, and sells twice as many Cayenne’s as it does Boxters or 911/918s. (people really really want SUVs and CUVs. HINT to the EV manufacturers!)

    Similarly, I think the Model X will sell double the volume of the Model S.

    So currently I think Tesla S sales are slowing because people are waiting for the Model X. I think this is a MAJOR factor.

    Also: I think that the failure to get the X out before the Cayenne PHEV was a mistake, as some people at that price point won’t want to wait and will just get the Cayenne.

    Overall, however: unless and until they can improve their AER I think Porsche, BMW, and Volvo will eventually be negatively surprised at how their brands fare vs Tesla Model X

    1. Stimpacker says:

      Possibly true but less so for those like me.

      I’m looking at the Model X for the family hauler and the Model III as a commuter to replace my Leaf.

      I have resisted getting a SUV despite living in SUV-land (every suburbia home here has at least a pickup truck for him and a SUV for her), even those with 0-1 kids.

      For me, the SUV (especially those with “Support Our Troops” stickers) represents our addiction to Big Oil and how we screw over people all over the world for it.

      I can live with the Model X (provided it doesn’t cost too much more than the Model S). I won’t go with the Cayenne PHEV – that changes nothing. All the disadvantages of an ICE remains. If I can afford it, what do I care about saving a few bucks on gas?

      PHEV’s to me, are good for single vehicle folks – you can only have 1 car but can’t get BEV due to their limited range and charging infrastructure.

      What this means for Tesla is get the Model X out pronto and move fast on the Model III (and Gigafactory)! Prospective customers are waiting.

      1. JRMW says:

        Stim,
        I think that overall we are saying the same thing. Although the Cayenne is competition for the X I think the X will outsell it handily. That’s why I wrote that BMW Volvo and Porsche will be negatively surprised. So I agree that few will choose the Cayenne over the x, by some will.

        I think Tesla buyers think and act similarly to Porsche buyers. Similar demographic but with different priorities. That’s why I think Tesla buyers will respond similarly to Porsche buyers and really gravitate to the SUV. That will depress S sales more than many expect. But it could lead to impressive X sales depending on price. The only hitch with the X could be those falcon doors. They are cool but are they impractical?

        The real test is the model 3 as it will be the first Tesla and perhaps first longer range EV achievable to the masses. Will it be able to perform and look cool and stay affordable? A tall order but if anybody can do it Elon can

        That will determine if Tesla will remain a boutique brand or become a major player.

        I think the EV world has had a bizarre fascination with RWD vehicles and odd little city commuters.. Cars that Americans usually eschew. When Americans don’t buy them analysts blame the EV aspect when it’s often a body style or RWD issue.

        Finally SUVs and AWDs are coming. These are top sellers in the ICE works and will also be in the EV and PHEV world too.

    2. pjwood says:

      I see a shrinking herd of Porsche shoppers, who focus on or are at least aware of their mechanical capabilities. Some of the same buyers may also see form following a different function, with Tesla. Then, there’s the cache buyers both enjoy. Not much in between, to my eyes. You don’t cross-shop 85, versus 10 kwh. You decide what your needs, and sacrifices, are going to be, and then perhaps the message you want to send.

      In favor of both, loyal Porsche owners know how uncivil yesterday’s 911’s were. You had to make them work, for everyday. I think Tesla owners carry that spirit, today, if for different reasons than pure driving.

      I might have considered a Cayenne EREV, with 20-30kwh, instead of Model S (see that, already talking like “them”), but space needs really didn’t call for it, I mean, with the frunk (there I go, again), and all… I’ll be taking time to plot my routes, like I used to make time for my .004″ feeler gauge. It’s all good.

  10. Sales in Europe in September might be <500. Only 104 in Norway.

    1. DaveMart says:

      Apparently China has had around 2,500 Tesla S cars over the last 5 months, so if, and that is a big if, that continues then sales are at a similar level to Europe, and together they add up to around 1,000 a month.

      Plus the US at ~1200 a month that comes to 2200 a month, or about 25,000 a year.

      Disregarding any hit to Model S sales, the Model X might sell around as many.

      So 50,000 a year.

      That is OK for a low volume luxury producer, not so good for plans to take over the Gigaverse.

      1. Big Solar says:

        you do realize they are planning a 3rd gen car? I do believe that is what the bulk(50% or more)of the battery factory is for.

        1. DaveMart says:

          Long before we get to the Model III we have targets for the Model S and Model X production.

          They have to hit them first or at least get close before there is any question of the far more competitive $35k car market.

        2. DaveMart says:

          BTW by far the majority of the hypothetical gigafactory is for the Model III, at around half the kilowatt hours of the Tesla S and Tesla X and 400,000 a year as against 100,000 of both of them combined 2/3rds of it in fact, other than the equally hypothetical sales for grid and home usage, where LG Chem have built the world’s biggest grid battery storage unit at 32MWh and BYD currently have 100 MWh total installed.

  11. Herman says:

    Hang on a minute. At the end of Q2 Tesla had $250M of finished goods inventory on the books. This is entered at Cost of Sales (not Sell Price), so that’s about 3000 cars,1200 of which were built (but not delivered) in Q2. Subtract about 500 cars for loaners, dealership test drivers, and a few returns. They entered Q3 with about 2500 cars in various stages of “just finished” to rolling off the truck but not in the hands of a customer yet.

    Musk wants to deliver 7800 and build 9000 in Q3. Assume they deliver the 2500 completed but not delivered from Q2 in Q3. That means his goal is to deliver 5300 of the 9000 that will be built in Q3.

    How poorly does this company manage its cash?

    1. DaveMart says:

      @Herman:

      Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice!

    2. Mint says:

      Stop with the silly math. If they produced and delivered 7800, keeping the same number of cars in the pipeline, your calculations would still show 5300 delivered out of 7800 produced.

      All that matters is they have 2500 at various points of the distribution/sales pipeline, and at the end of this quarter it’ll be 3700 due to new markets.

      What’s the big deal? That’s not even 45 days inventory. Compare that the big automakers:
      http://www.ibtimes.com/us-new-auto-inventories-highest-09-gm-volkswagen-top-list-kia-hyundai-most-toyota-stock-healthiest

      1. Herman says:

        Mint:

        I don’t mean to sound catty here, but honestly you don’t understand the problem.

        (1) How can you POSSIBLY plan and execute so poorly as to have more than 15% of your annual cost of sales sitting around? For the China cars, it’s less of a big deal since there is a substantial deposit at 2 weeks after order. But otherwise, if you have done your job as a company and groomed import channels, regulatory requirements, etc. there should be no reason not to ship twice as fast as current delays. It’s just badly managed. Read their balance sheet: they depend on delaying payments to make big en-of-Q “cash from operations” numbers. They are not the only ones who practice this particular black art, but it is essential to their Cash numbers.

        (2) Big Automakers don’t carry the inventory. Dealers do. The evil Big Automakers get the cars off the books and evil dealers carry the risk. The 45, 60, 90 days on the lot is the risk of the guy who owns the lot.

        1. Lensman says:

          Herman:

          It’s you who does not understand. “Mint” is correct.

          As Tesla Motors sends more and more of its cars to overseas customers, more and more will be “caught in transit” for longer periods; cars mostly or completely built but not paid for.

          But as Mint points out, Tesla Motors still has a much lower level of “inventory” than do legacy auto makers, who send their cars to sit around on dealer lots for weeks or months before they are sold.

          Your assertion “Big Automakers don’t carry the inventory. Dealers do. The evil Big Automakers get the cars off the books and evil dealers carry the risk” …also shows your limited understanding about legacy auto makers’ business model. Yes, the auto makers sell their cars to the dealers, not directly to the customer. But the auto makers have to pay dealers a fee for keeping the cars on their lots. Obviously, Tesla Motors does not. This is one of many places where Tesla Motors gives better value to customers by cutting out the middle man.

          Also, ask yourself this: Who gets stuck with cars that the dealers choose not to buy? The auto maker, of course. Contrariwise, Tesla Motors only makes cars for order, except for a small number of “demo” and service shop loaner units. There is no possibility that Tesla Motors is going to get “stuck” with a significant number of leftover cars at the end of a model year.

          1. Anders says:

            Correct ! You are so right on !

  12. ffbj says:

    Cool reference. Yes we are through the looking glass here. Contrariwise.
    How doth the little crocodile improve his shining tail?
    While waters of the Nile pour oer’ every shining scale.
    How cheerfully he seems to grin, how deftly spreads his claws.
    And welcomes little fishes in with gently smiling jaws.

  13. ffbj says:

    golden scale. oops.

  14. jmac says:

    In 2007 Toyota sold 287,800 hybrids in North America. Then it all hit the fan and sales plummetted for 4 straight years, from 287,800 in 2007 to just 185,100 in 2011 for North America.

    It looked like the end for hybrids in the U.S. and all the hybrid haters were jumping up and down with glee at the long anticipated demise of the hybrid.

    Then, something amazing happened in 2012. Toyota suddenly sold 344,600 hybrids in North America that year. Up from just 185,000 the year before.

    In spite of the fact that sales in the U,S. and Canada dropped precipitously for 4 years, nevertheless Toyota expanded world wide hybrid sales each and every year of the big U.S. downturn.

    Toyota simply made up for slumping U.S. sales simply by selling more hybrids in other markets and thereby increased global sales each and every year throughout the big 4 year long downturn in the U.S. except for just one year. That was from 2010 to 2011 when worldwide sales went from 690,100 to 628,900.

    Did Toyota hang its head and say: “Well, I guess it’s all over for hybrids” ? “Let’s get out the Sepuku knives and all commit hari kari”

    Hell no ! The very next year in 2012 Toyota went out and kicked ass and sold 1,219,000 hybrids world wide.

    There is a clear message here for not only the ‘Toyota hybrid haters’, but also for the Tesla detractors.

    Glad to see Tesla expanding and diversifying to other markets.

    http://corporatenews.pressroom.toyota.com/releases/worldwide+toyota+hybrid+sales+top+6+million.htm

    1. DaveMart says:

      Perhaps also a message for ‘Toyota FCEV haters’ although some may not wish to dwell on that.

      Toyota also at the time was a massive producer of conventional vehicles, whilst the stratospheric Tesla share price is based on their narrow luxury product range rapidly expanding to encompass the entire universe.

      1. Anders says:

        You just don’t get it do you ?

    2. Herman says:

      No, because Toyota had tremendous financial depth and a huge breadth of models to allow its burgeoning hybrid product line to survive. Global sales of Prius alone during this “sad” period jumped from the high 200k’s to the high 400k’s, peaking past a half million. In the meantime Toyota did not need to issue enormous Convertible notes and triple their debt because they were able to produce sufficient cash from the business.

      A really, really inapplicable comparison. But I get the point about the little engine that could.

  15. koz says:

    “one of unlimited demand as Tesla would have us believe”

    more demand than supply does not equal unlimited demand. Your view is skewed dude.

    1. DaveMart says:

      Unlimited for the purposes of discussion.
      The idea that production of the Tesla S is supply not demand constrained is clearly what is being questioned.

  16. Spec9 says:

    I cannot go anywhere without seeing a Model S on the road these days. But I do live in the home Territory of Tesla.

    I’m very happy to see all these people turning in their BMWs, Mercedes, Lexus, Range Rovers, etc. and picking up Teslas. Everyone of these people moved from an oil-burner to an electric car running on PG&E’s pretty clean grid (less than 2% coal). And many of them get solar PV. And over time, the California grid is getting even cleaner.

    1. DaveMart says:

      I wish they all could be California cars!
      (With apologies to those of the Beach Boys who are still breathing)

  17. Spec9 says:

    Saw an i3 up close today. It was smaller than I anticipated. It looks OK but that front-end still looks stupid, IMHO. The interior is beautiful.

    The outer panels are really plasticky. The people that made the Think City should have made shiny metal looking plastic panels like the BMW i3 and people then seem to accept them more. But I guess those are more expensive.

    The i3 is so disappointing in a way . . . because it is really good . . . decent price price, very lightweight due to the CFRP, efficient drivetrain, interesting range-extender . . . . but it is just a little bit goofy looking. If they made it look like BMW 1-series or a Z3, it would have been a smash hit. But instead, it is the goofy car.

    1. Stimpacker says:

      I was going to seriously consider the BMW i3 for the wife. Was even about to sign up for their long term test drive.

      Well, until the local dealer torpedoed it with their usual antics. They want me to pay $53K for a $45K car. So no thanks, $53K is too much for a little car that is at best a luxurious Leaf equivalent (minus ChadeMO).

      Imagine how terribly Tesla would have fared had they succumbed to the “must-sell-autos-via-dealers-it’s-the-law” nonsense.

  18. paul says:

    It what can only be described as fail after fail insideevs.com continues to erroneously boosts Tesla sales numbers in the last month of the quarter in an attempt to legitimize their previous inaccurate predictions.

    *I spelled the first word incorrectly on purpose to mock the misspelling of the first word in this article.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      That is not the case at all.

      Here is the sales synopsis from last month/August’s sales report, it said the following:

      “On the good news front, production on the bigger/faster/stronger assembly line in Fremont is now going nuclear with laser focus on the United States as the end of the quarter breathes down the company’s neck.

      Just about every American who was looking for a new Model S from earlier this Spring/Summer has a report in their hand that it is now ‘in production’ in some form or another and they are going to get it before THIS month’s end. September is practically guaranteed to be a blow-out month for the automaker.”
      http://insideevs.com/august-2014-plug-electric-vehicle-sales-report-card/

      And the month prior’s sales (July) report said this:

      “Looking ahead, early August will also not yield much in the way of US sales before the more “premium” of Model S deliveries happen late in the month. September on the other hand, should see Tesla sell cars at the highest rate of the year.
      http://insideevs.com/july-2014-plug-electric-vehicle-sales-report-card/

      No OEM building attempting global production out of one factory on one model is going to have their quarterly sales evenly divided by three, much less a small electric car maker. Everyone knows what Elon Musk puts out as a going forward estimate (we are on the call every quarter) – and other than the actual day of the quarterly results, no other information is given.

      Quite frankly, we just do the research and put forward the delivery numbers we feel are accurate for the US in that particular month. To date using this method our average margin of error per quarter has been just under 150. Does that mean we will always be right? Or that we are perfect? No, but it means we are pretty not too shabby so far.

      Tesla’s method (for the most part) to keep a good handle on their quarterly deliveries is by focusing more intently on their home market (US) in the last month of the quarter – a time when they can more accurately control the rate of deliveries over the 3 months. Which just makes sense if you are a small OEM offering a single vehicle.

  19. jmac says:

    Everyone agrees that once the initial rush to fulfill the backlog of orders for Model S was over that sales would eventually taper off.

    Even Tesla Fan Boys admit that. What’s the point ?

    1. ffbj says:

      The point is that people who have accomplished very little in life feel that by casting aspersions on a company that in many ways could qualify as miraculous, by doing so garner some feeling of having done something of significance.
      You, being a doctor, are probably very familiar with the people who want to tell you how you should be doing your job, when they really have no clue what they are talking about. Oh course that last part was mere speculation.

      1. jmac says:

        @ ffjb

        I was asking the critics of Tesla how this fits into their supply/demand curve.

        Tesla is doubling its work force in Hong Kong from 50 to about 100.

        Why would Tesla spend and/or waste all that money if demand was not truly there ?

        That’s a good question for all the self-appointed Supply/Demand experts that know everything and have set up residence
        here on Inside EVs.

        http://www.autonews.com/article/20140925/OEM05/140929927/tesla-expands-in-hong-kong-to-tap-ev-demand

        1. See Through says:

          jmac,
          I’m surprised you ask such simple questions!
          In Hong Kong, Tesla had 50 employees to service 50 roadsters.
          Now, Tesla delivered an additional 50 Model S sedans. How many employees should they need now?

      2. DaveMart says:

        Yep.

        It is clearly not on for anyone at all to question Tesla about anything whatsoever, and a discussion forum is not here for the purpose of having a variety of opinion.

        Great that you are here to tell everyone that the only opinion which has any worth at all is your own!

        Many thanks.

  20. Oleg says:

    I’m curious about your estimate methodology, because I know Tesla only reports quarterly and in some past older quarters it’s given round numbers and “more than X” statements.

  21. The Brave Little Toaster says:

    “Those naysayers who insist that demand for the Tesla Model S is waning because of a slower summer US production run can go find a pillow to cry under now.”

    Those ***holes? The sort of people who make these sorts of predictions are not in the least bit interested in the accuracy of their forecasts, but more in selling their writing. And there’s a huge market for the works of blowhards with tiny brains, it seems.

    1. DaveMart says:

      It sounds to me as though you have that part of the market cornered.

      Do grow up, and learn that it is legitimate for people to hold different opinions to yourself, and try to give up the blowhard personal abuse.

  22. Omar Sultan says:

    It is a curious to see folks visit a EV fan site in order to attack the apparent success and future prospects of one of the aforementioned EVs.

    1. LuStuccc says:

      Disinformers paid by P.R. Firms paid millions (billions?) a year by Big Oil to manipulate public opinion.

    2. Herman says:

      Many Tesla skeptics, like me, are EV drivers. Oddly, a huge number of the acolytes of the Church of Tesla are not EV owners.

      Many skeptics actually read financial statements and find the business to be on spindly legs, with an outrageous valuation that will cost a lot of people a lot of money when the CEOs nudity becomes obvious.

      Finally, many of us missed the note in the comment guidelines that says “don’t criticize St. Musk (Lord and Savior, peace be unto him).

      1. Lustuccc says:

        Yes of course, you are a member of the holy church of Wall street.
        All the financial priests predict the eternal fire of hell for Tesla long ago

        http://teslamondo.com/2014/09/01/weve-come-a-long-way-baby/

        January 2011 : “Nick
        Investor here. I wouldn’t touch TSLA with a 100 foot clown pole…Never once turned a quarterly profit, has no viable plan to ever do so, high cash burn rate means they will be BK before 2013, they are in a highly competitive industry with much bigger players, and reading through their IPO’s s-1 filing makes me want to laugh at you or cry for you depending on how much you money you at this rat hole.”

        The same litany now.

  23. Ocean Railroader says:

    I think there could be a possibility that Tesla could be tapping it’s market for the $70,000 and up EV segment. In that there seems to be a lot of factors in our economy that would take away form someone buying a $70,000 and up car. And you also have those finical shows like the Suzie Orman show that would warn people time after time not to pore $70,000 dollars into a luxury car. In that one of the main themes of these finical advice shows is not to spend more then $50,000 on a car unless you are making several million a year. I don’t think Tesla is going to go crashing down in a flaming wreak. But I think Tesla should at least make a few changes to prepare for a $70,000 dollar car sales slow down.

    Personally I think Tesla could avoid a slow down if they use the falling battery prices to lower the starting price of the Model S from $70,000 to $60,000 or better yet $50,000 starting price. A price cut such as this would avoid any long term slow down in Model S sales.

    If anyone thinks this is out of the question. Lately I’ve noticed that on Car Gurus that BMW has cut the starting price of their I3 electric car down from a $45,000 starting price down to a $38,000 dollar starting price which is most likely the 900 pound Goldfish into why sales are growing so fast for the BMW-i3.

    1. Ambulator says:

      It’s very difficult for Tesla to cut prices, though. It would probably cause their resale price guarantee to kick in.

  24. Bill Howland says:

    EV car sales are pretty unimpressive for 2014 in general. Pundits overestimated the percentage take, probably because gasoline prices are low. THe market for light vehicles overall is up.

    Looks like the only thing that will help EV sales is a sharp rise in gas prices.

  25. GSP says:

    Gas prices low? Not compared to the last few decades.

    GSP