Tesla Q4 Deliveries Total 22,200 EVs, Misses Full Year Estimates, Cites AutoPilot 2 Transition Issues

2 weeks ago by Jay Cole 114

Tesla Motors misses Q4 deliveries due to difficulties with AutoPilot rollout

Tesla Motors misses Q4 deliveries due to difficulties with AutoPilot rollout

If one has been reading our earlier monthly sales reports for Tesla from October and November, there was a few obvious facts on Tesla’s sales this quarter: December was going to be a really big month for Tesla sales in the United States, but October and November were virtual train-wrecks due to difficulties getting AutoPilot 2 hardware out there.

Tesla rushed to get as many cars delivered as possible in Q4, but AP2 difficulties made it impossible to hit it guidance before the year expired.

Tesla rushed to get as many cars delivered as possible in Q4, but AP2 difficulties made it impossible to hit it guidance before the year expired.

We noted a month ago:

“Some Tesla customers who had expected cars in late September, have seen deliveries slip not only past October, but now November because of the chaos that appears to be the new hardware.

Does this mean Tesla will hit its Q4/full year estimate?  We can’t say that for sure as the company has definitely backed itself into a corner with AP 2.0.  The company will certainly have an exceptional December, but will need flawless execution throughout the month (something we have yet to see in Q4) to have a shot at those ~25,000 Q4 deliveries.”

And two months ago:

“After just completing Q3 and surpassing expectations by selling 24,821 during the 3 month period...sales hit a roadblock in October.

And that roadblocks name was “fully self driving hardware“, or enhanced Autopilot if you will.”

And today was confession day for Tesla, as the sales reckoning day is tomorrow morning for the industry, and it also has that big Gigafactory show for investors (details).

For Q4 Tesla stated it delivered approximately 22,220 vehicles, broken down as follows:

  • 12,700 Model S
  • 9,500  Model X

When added to earlier quarterly totals, approximately 76,230 electric vehicles were delivered, which was 3,770 shy of guidance to deliver 80,000 in 2016.

Tesla also noted that they produced “24,882 vehicles in Q4, resulting in total 2016 production of 83,922 vehicles. This was an increase of 64% from 2015”.

Nothing but trouble with AP2 hardware manufacturing for Tesla in Q4

Nothing but transition trouble with AP2 hardware on board for Tesla in Q4

As mentioned earlier, and even though it was pretty obvious to us what was going on since the first couple weeks of October, Tesla finally let everyone else in on the secret, saying in a statement on deliveries.

“Because of short-term production challenges starting at the end of October and lasting through early December from the transition to new Autopilot hardware, Q4 vehicle production was weighted more heavily towards the end of the quarter than we had originally planned. We were ultimately able to recover and hit our production goal, but the delay in production resulted in challenges that impacted quarterly deliveries, including, among other things, cars missing shipping cutoffs for Europe and Asia. 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.”

Tesla moves on to Gigafactory show-and-tell tomorrow - new cell production anyone?

Tesla moves on to Gigafactory show-and-tell tomorrow – new cell production anyone?

Tesla, as per the norm, also touched on its “in transit” figure for Q4 and demand:

“In addition to Q4 deliveries, about 6,450 vehicles were in transit to customers at the end of the quarter. These will be counted as deliveries in Q1 2017.

Vehicle demand in Q4 was particularly strong. Q4 net orders for Model S and X, which were an all-time record for us, were 52% higher than Q4 2015 and 24% higher than our previous record quarter in Q3 2016.”

As for the still-hugeness of Tesla’s December push in the US, we had pegged Tesla’s US Model S sales at 5,850 units – by far the largest delivery mark for any EV in US history, while the Model X sold a still strong ~3,875 copies.

Unfortunately, there still just wasn’t enough days left in the year to get all those produced, but delayed, EVs to customers in time during the last month of the year.

As a final assessment – indeed Tesla missed Q4* and 2016* deliveries, but with an asterisk. Unfortunately that asterisk indicates a self-inflicted wound, one that Tesla was aware was incoming when it estimated deliveries last quarter, so we can’t give them a full pass on it.

Looking ahead: Onwards and upwards to producing and delivering the Model 3 in a timely fashion.  At the end of the day, that is really all that really matters to us (and quite likely investors), as a ~4.5% miss on 2016 sales is relatively inconsequential in the long run.

As for shareholders?  They too are looking ahead to the Model 3 and are unconcerned with Q4 delivery happenings, shares traded up more than 3% in early ‘morning after’ trading. (Real time quote can be found here)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

120 responses to "Tesla Q4 Deliveries Total 22,200 EVs, Misses Full Year Estimates, Cites AutoPilot 2 Transition Issues"

  1. Michael Will says:

    Pretty close to target, while switching autopilot hardware on all production lines, I think thats impressive. Looking forward to more exciting news in regards to superchargers, model 3 etc soon…

    1. Kevin says:

      Except that they actually forecast 80-90k units, not 80k. So they missed, as always, and then just made up some garbage excuses.

  2. realistic says:

    Look for a disappointing Q4 loss. Not that this is very meaningful for TSLA investors, of course, but with ~2800 fewer cars and near-zero ZEV credits the $22M GAAP results of Q3 aren’t in the cards. I’m guessing ($85M) GAAP for the heritage Tesla Motors segment, assuming they kept SG&A steady, throttled R&D to a 5% hike, and saw only $10M increase in interest.

    Unless there were a WHOLE lot more M3 deposits made, cash (before new credit lines) will be about a $1.3B decline (assuming only $750M of capex vs. the $1B guidance), resulting in $2B cash/equivalents on-hand.

    Convertible Bonds in late Q1! These are good for raising bucks and keeping Shorts on board (arbitrage trade).

    Onward to M3.

    1. Nix says:

      Well, Elon himself told all of his employees that Q3 2016 would be the last profitable quarter until the M3 sales began in volume, due to M3 startup costs.

      So it isn’t like anybody who has seriously been following Tesla should be surprised. We were told that was actually the plan.

      (source: leaked internal email from Elon that can be found in insideev’s archives.)

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      realistic said:

      “Look for a disappointing Q4 loss.”

      How is investing in future Model ≡ production either “disappointing” or a “loss”?

      This is as absurd at looking at your paycheck stub, noting the amount taken out as investment in your 401(k) retirement fund, and saying “How disappointing that I lost so much!” A total disconnect with reality.

      1. Ambulator says:

        That’s what accounting is for. GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) says it’s a loss. Accounting is somewhat fuzzy at the edges and GAAP is usually the most conservative method, so non-GAAP accounting may say something else. It’s best if you really understand accounting if you’re going to use non-GAAP numbers, though.

        Tesla is an interested party, so that makes their non-GAAP numbers suspect. That is true of every company with regards to their own numbers.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Despite the fact that I did once teach myself double-entry bookkeeping to act as a club treasurer, I treasure my ignorance of accounting.

          I don’t think that a common sense approach to looking at Tesla’s financial health does me a disservice, when I observe that Tesla has repeatedly confounded the almost universal predictions of failure by financial analysts in its early years. I also note that “financial guys” said exactly the same thing about Amazon.com that they’re now saying about Tesla Motors, until Amazon.com grew to be the world’s #1 retailer. Funny thing; the financial guys are no longer claiming that Amazon.com is “losing” money every year!

          Or to put it another way: I don’t believe in perpetual motion in finances any more than I believe it in science. If the way y’all count Tesla’s income vs. expenditures causes y’all to say Tesla is “losing” money, then the problem isn’t with Tesla. The problem is with the way y’all are counting money.

          No publicly owned company could continue to grow at 40-60% per year, year after year, if it was really “losing” money rather than making money, and a lot of it. I don’t need to be a financial genius to understand that! The question is, why can’t you see something that is so obvious?

          1. unlucky says:

            Tesla indeed has been losing money. They have continued to raise more money to continue operations.

            People said the same about Amazon because it was true. They said this until Amazon stopped losing money. Amazon reduced the amount of money they plowed back into the company and started banking some of it as profit. That’s why they don’t say it anymore.

            I’m not sure where you are going with this.

            There is no problem with how we’re counting the money. The problem is you cannot accept it for some reason.

            The solution isn’t to redefine losing money as making money. The solution is simply to understand that you have to spend money to make money. Others can do this, all you have to do is apply yourself and you can too.

            1. Nix says:

              unlucky — “They have continued to raise more money”

              you are conflating investment with loss. Having investors invest into your company isn’t a loss.

              You are also ignoring that Tesla has been creating value and infrastructure, and pretend that their money they have invested in that value and infrastructure isn’t an investment.

              1. unlucky says:

                I am not conflating investment with loss. I’m explaining that they have raised more capital because of they capital they have lost.

                They aren’t losing money because they are raising capital, they are raising capital because they are losing money.

                Every time you say “you” you just should write “accounting principles” instead. I don’t make the rules. When you spend money, it’s an expense. When you spend more money than you make, you make losses. This is what is happening.

                You need to get over this idea that someone who says Tesla is making a loss is insulting them. You have to spend money to make money, no problem with that. Some losses can be good losses. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t losses.

                1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                  unlucky said:

                  “They aren’t losing money because they are raising capital, they are raising capital because they are losing money.”

                  Well, thank goodness there are investors willing to invest in Tesla who don’t agree with your assessment.

                  And your assertion here reads exactly the same as what Tesla nay-sayers have been saying since even before Tesla started selling the Roadster. That’s been over eight years now! If they were right — if you were right — then Tesla would long since have gone out of business.

                  But the bees keep on flying, and Tesla keeps on growing its business.

                  1. unlucky says:

                    It doesn’t matter how it reads. This is how accounting works. If you spend more than you take in, you are making a loss.

                    And yes, despite your inability to accept it, Tesla has been losing money all this time. They are still in business because they continually raise more capital.

                    The issue here is you, you want to redefine what a loss is and you’re just not the authority to do so.

                    There’s no way to square the circle here. The issue is you are unable to accept accounting terminology for what it is. And you somehow can’t see that a company can remain in business when losing money as long as they can raise more capital.

                    You’ve somehow attached your own personal beliefs to a phraseology against all logic. You insist Tesla must not be making losses because you can’t seem to accept the accurate explanation that shows how it is not only possible but happening.

                    Why get so excited about terminology? Why insist not just that people acknowledge that Tesla has to spend this money to grow their business but also insist that they must use your non-standard terminology to classify it? What does your insistence on this accomplish?

            2. mx says:

              Tesla now with $12 Billion in Assets, has a better Book Value than Amazon, right now.

          2. Jim Whitehead says:

            Apologies in advance to accountants. I am not criticizing your work; I am pointing out the limitations of your profession.

            Accountants have to follow rules that are mostly short-term oriented. What did we make this year? (Future be damned). Example: How much money and stuff did you have on Jan. 1 and how much did you have Dec. 31, adjusting for inventory?

            Look at the fiction of amortization: imaginary wearing-down of stuff that may or may not actually depreciate. Some should be expensed but most isn’t. Accounting is so NOT investing, which is largely growth oriented.

            To illustrate, suppose you have a thriving little business, but instead of paying yourself, you took every dime of cash flow and used it to build build a dream giga-business next door, the accountant would say you just lost a bundle this year (and maybe you should get fired)! (This is what Tesla is doing).

            Wall Street saying: Never let accountants or lawyers run your business. If they do, kiss it goodbye. They will squeeze every dime out fast this year and thereby ruin it!

      2. realistic says:


        Point one: “How is investing in future Model linelineline production either ‘disappointing’ or a ‘loss’?”
        Answer: When you subtract Operating Expenses and Interest from Gross Profit and get a negative number, it’s a loss. The number goes in parentheses. That’s pretty much the whole thing. “Disappointing” is a reasonable choice of word because a whole lot of people were thinking that Tesla could turn a quarterly profit again on the automobile segment of the business (not the SolarCity portion, of course — it’s a hideous loser). Tesla never guided for another quarter of profit, but it’s easy to see from analyst estimates that the consensus for a combined, near-zero non-GAAP number clearly implied a positive automotive bottom line. Those people and all the hopefuls stating it around the Tesla forums would be… disappointed. Not crushed, just disappointed. As for “investing in production”: if you mean the Capital Expenditures required to make the new Model, then that’s not applicable to profit or loss. CapEx doesn’t show up on the income statement. The Capital Assets for the Model stackedlines don’t hit the bottom line until the Depreciation begins (at the point they are placed into service).

        Point two: “This is as absurd at looking at your paycheck stub, noting the amount taken out as investment in your 401(k) retirement fund, and saying ‘How disappointing that I lost so much!’ A total disconnect with reality.”

        Answer: Not to be argumentative, but the reality problem lies in your post. There is a category in Cash Flow called Cash Flows From Investing Activities. Within that is an entry for Purchases of Property and Equipment. That’s your “investment” line. Even a great huge whopping negative number there doesn’t subtract a single centavo from the bottom line of the Income Statement. So you’re confused again here. The 410k analogy is not appropriate at all. If Tesla were profitable by one penny and spent an additional $1B in capital I wouldn’t use the word “loss”.

        Now: if a company is continually borrowing money to invest, never consistently generating net cash from operations, and is perhaps years away from steady cash generation to fund its growth and repay debt, that can be a bad thing. Like, for example, increasing its credit line because Cash from Operations isn’t enough to fund those Operations and repay the coming debt from Convertible Notes. In other words: borrowing money to “invest” and pay back other financing that’s come due. Like Tesla is doing.

        It’s OK: Tesla will probably still be a good money raiser throughout the coming year as they struggle against the Model threelines schedule and pile up enormous bills for unused inventory and burgeoning Capital bills. After all, raising money is their best suit. And besides just keeping the lights on they do invest the borrowed money on some interesting stuff.

        But we should all be clear that Tesla doesn’t make money. Tesla raises money. At some point if they don’t turn the corner of this behavior this could get messy. Not BK, just a lot of trouble selling the value proposition to buyers of new Bonds and Shares.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Your wall-of-text argument is about as convincing as the engineer in the apocryphal tale who refused to believe that bees can fly, because his aeronautical equations said it couldn’t. Well, the bee doesn’t care about equations; it just keeps flying. And Tesla doesn’t care about what accounting principles you use to count money; it just keeps growing its business year after year.

          “But we should all be clear that Tesla doesn’t make money. Tesla raises money. At some point if they don’t turn the corner of this behavior this could get messy.”

          Ah! At last, someone makes a valid point on this subject, rather than keep repeating the ridiculous claim that Tesla is “losing” money, which very clearly it’s not. Yes indeed, Tesla is borrowing money — not losing it — and borrowing lots of it, to invest in growing the company rapidly. So did Amazon.com. Now of course, the fact that Amazon.com did ultimately turn the corner and become net profitable (not just gross profitable, as Tesla is) after it grew to an enormous size, certainly isn’t proof that Tesla can do the same.

          However, it is proof that “financial guys” don’t have the ability to properly analyze the financial health of a company experiencing long-term rapid growth.

        2. Another Euro point of view says:

          This is one of the best and most accurate description of Tesla state of affairs I read for a long time. Really surprised to find this level of commenting in an EV enthusiast site.

          1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯sven says:


        3. Tech01x says:

          Cash flow from operating activities has been positive for the past two quarters. It might be again in Q4, even with the deliveries miss. You have to reasonably deal with their lease based accounting… even though revenue recognition has to be deferred into future quarters, they have the cash which is the most important aspect at this juncture as they move towards the Model 3 As for cash, if they feel they need to do it, the vehicles in transit is the collateral for their asset backed lending credit line.

          All of this sets up for a blockbuster Q1 between the high rate of weekly production, increasing demand for their products, and a drawdown on the finished goods inventory.

          Not to mention that Tesla Energy isn’t factored in.

          1. BenG says:

            Tesla Energy is a drag on company finances for now. Massive expenses and investment costs as they try to create an entirely new type of energy company.

            It’s awesome they are trying, and I’m optimistic about their chances, but it’s no given they will succeed.

        4. mx says:

          Are you “really” an accountant? Because you didn’t say anything about ASSETS.

        5. Nix says:

          realistic — “When you subtract Operating Expenses and Interest from Gross Profit and get a negative number, it’s a loss.”

          This is the fatal flaw in every one of your arguments. You completely fail to account for the fact that Tesla has created both Value and Assets.

          Let me explain the depths of failure that this comment represents. What you have done is like comparing renting a house for $2k/mo, and buying a house for $2k/mo, by totaling up the total number of payments over 15 years* and saying they both cost $360K, so renting and buying cost the same.

          When you ignore that Value and Assets have been created during this operation, it is the same as ignoring that when you buy you end up owning the house in 15 years*, and when you rent for 15 years* you end up with nothing.

          When you invest in a company, you don’t just get a cut of profits at the end of the year when the Gross Profits – Operating Expenses – Interest calculation is done. You get partial ownership in the Value and Assets that are created.


          * Don’t get suckered into 30 year mortgages, the only winner is the bank. If you can’t buy your house with a 20 year or 15 year mortgage, you are buying too much house.

          1. Ambulator says:

            No one is ignoring assets. As an investor, you own both part of the assets and part of the liabilities in the end. If a company is losing money the liabilities are growing faster than the assets. Now, the lease based accounting complicates this somewhat, but even undoing that Tesla has usually shown a loss.

            This doesn’t mean that Tesla will always show a loss. In fact, they show great promise, which is reflected in the stock price.

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              The problem with this argument is that you, like Unlucky, write as if it’s all black-and-white; as if the accounting for a company experiencing significant long-term growth is a simple as the analogy I made of investing in your 401(k).

              The reality is that it’s much more complex, and not at all clear-cut. As an example, Tesla was able to move much closer to GAAP accounting when it stopped guaranteeing the resale value of its cars. That guarantee had been carried as a liability (I hope I’m using the correct technical term here?), and once that liability disappeared, then Tesla’s financial situation suddenly looked much better. But nothing really changed, as far as cash flow goes; Tesla didn’t have a real expense which suddenly went away. The reality didn’t change, merely the method of counting money changed.

              So all your claims based on the idea that accounting of Tesla’s finances is a black-and-white issue, are demonstrably wrong. Even though I’m not a “financial guy”, I get that. Why is it that y’all don’t, hmmm?

              The reality is that some choose to analyze Tesla’s finances as if it’s a normal company, and not a growth company. So they come up with figures indicating Tesla is headed down the tubes. Others, recognizing reality, see that companies which significantly grow in size year after year can’t be measured in the same way. Some of those people, I would guess, are those willing to invest in Tesla Motors.

              What really baffles me is why y’all can’t look back over Tesla’s history, apply the same analysis you’re using, and figure out that if things were operating as you claim, then Tesla would have gone out of business years ago! Again, I don’t need to be a financial genius to figure that out. So why can’t you?

              1. unlucky says:

                Tesla moved to GAAP accounting now. They were forced to by the SEC.

                We can’t acknowledge your indication that Tesla can’t have been making losses and still stay in business because it simply isn’t true. They’ve raised capital to cover the money lost. But they still have lost money.

                They took on obligations (debt and equity) to get capital needed to continue and grow their operations. It’s pretty normal. Heck, when this is done as an IPO people frequently go all agog about it! So what is the reason I should be required to pretend they didn’t do it simply to jive with an assessment that they are (in essence) a good company?

                It’s going to be a long time before Tesla turns a consistent and significant profit. They’re in a business which is very capital-intensive. Good investors know this is the case, so there’s no reason to be ashamed of it or pretend it isn’t true.

                1. Nix says:

                  Unlucky said “I’m explaining that they have raised more capital because of they capital they have lost.”

                  WRONG AND WRONG.

                  Tesla has NOT simply “lost” the money that they raised from capital!!!!! They have built VALUE and ASSETS. That money is not “lost” into thin air. It is invested, and they have a company and factories and IP and a brand and Wealth that the capital purchased.


                  Companies take on obligations (equity and debt) throughout their life. Even the US’s oldest car company (Ford) still takes on billions in debt even 100+ years after they were created, totaling “$23.6 billion in loans”:


                  If you are confused about Tesla’s business plan for becoming cash flow positive, and where they are in that plan, please review their “Secret” plan and take time to understand what they are doing, and all that they have accomplished already:


                  Your problem is that in your zeal to track only cash flow, and ignore Assets and Value, you have lost track of the fact that a massive and successful high growth company has been built.

                  So while you dither about whether they are cash flow positive or cash flow negative as if it were the only measure of a company’s success, ignoring Wealth creation, you remain tone-deaf to the reality that major successful companies are built on issuing equity and leveraging debt to grow and create Wealth.

              2. Ambulator says:

                I never said accounting was black and white. In fact, I described it as “fuzzy”. I have tried to simplify it enough to make it appropriate for this forum since there is little point in adding complications in when so many struggle with the basic concepts. And also it’s too much work and I’m lazy.

            2. Nix says:

              Ambulator — Realistic’s equation right here ignores Assets and Value:

              “When you subtract Operating Expenses and Interest from Gross Profit and get a negative number, it’s a loss.”

              His equation is actually just the equation for cashflow and cashflow alone. It completely ignores the creation of Real Wealth. If I’m wrong, I’m happy to hear *exactly* where in realistic’s equation you see asset creation and value creation accounted for.

              1. Ambulator says:

                Tangible assets are equal to the sum of the profit and loss statements for the life of the company, plus any capital raised by selling stock and probably other things I’m forgetting. There are intangible assets, though, like a trained workforce, that are usually ignored. You usually only account for them when a company is sold, since the sale price is usually different than the retained earnings. Otherwise it is hard to put a number on it.

  3. Viktor says:

    Just as the first comment I’m impress that Tesla manage to built that many cars even if they started to built in AP2 wish do make some changes in production,

    What does worrie me a bit is that while the production rise 64% percent compere to a year ago orders “only” rise 52%, does this mean that Tesla is closing in or already is producing more cars then they get orders for?

    With all the investment needed for Model lll I think this is the worst time for tesla to not have enough orders to fill there production and produce cars only for test drives and showrooms.

    1. Nix says:

      Viktor, Tesla’s “New Inventory” which includes demo cars and loaner cars (which are considered “New” for the federal tax credit) has actually dropped in the last month or so. It was in the 400’s, and now is close to 300.

      300 out of 76,000 is a rounding error in total yearly sales.

      No, there is no problem with Tesla’s inventory cars. Or as every other major car maker calls them: cars. Every other car maker has inventory on lots, and relatively few special orders. I’m not sure what the problem is with Tesla having a small amount of inventory cars, when nobody complains about the vast majority of all other car makers having the vast majority of their sales from inventory cars?

      1. unlucky says:

        Inventory is different for Tesla.

        Tesla sells cars to retail customers. Other companies sell them to dealers. If a car sits on a lot at a dealer it is already sold. If Tesla has a car on hand it is unsold.

        So Tesla has to be a bit more careful about inventory.

        But I haven’t seen Tesla having inventory problems and I can’t see why they would in the future. Their demand is good and even if it weren’t they are savvy enough to reduce production.

        1. Nix says:

          unlucky — Your comment is not fully accurate. Traditional car makers have TWO different sets of inventory cars.

          There is the dealership lot inventory that you mentioned, but there is also the car maker’s inventory BEFORE they sell their cars to dealerships. And at times those inventories can get massive:


          At less than half a percent of yearly sales, Tesla inventory is likely less than what typical car makers have in inventory of cars that have been built, but not yet purchased by any dealership.

          1. Nix says:

            To be clear, I’m not claiming that this source is accurate. I’m just using it for the visual pictures of cars stored by car makers that have not been sold to dealerships yet.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “What does worrie me a bit is that while the production rise 64% percent compere to a year ago orders ‘only’ rise 52%…”

      What is there to worry about? Tesla, unlike most other auto makers, sells every car it makes. None sit around on dealer lots until the end of the model year, to be returned to the auto maker and crushed.

      The exact percentage of cars produced which have been sold, counted at any moment in time (such as the time when end-of-quarter accounting is done), as opposed to the percentage counted which are what Tesla calls “inventory”, gives a certain ratio. That ratio does fluctuate from year to year, due to various factors. “Inventory” includes cars produced and en route to the buyer, but not delivered and thus not paid for. The ratio will change as, for example, Tesla sends a larger or smaller percentage of its production overseas; longer shipping times mean a higher ratio of inventory. Vice versa if Tesla concentrates more on domestic sales, as (if I recall correctly) it did in the latter part of 2015.

      If Tesla had a production slow-down at the end of the year, due to problems with Autopilot HW2 (hardware version 2), that would mean a lower percentage of “inventory” as compared to production… which I guess is what you’re describing as lower orders compared to production.

      It’s really a matter of how you choose to view the situation. You have apparently chosen a glass-half-empty viewpoint, but the numbers are the same if you choose to look at it from a glass-half-full viewpoint.

      I have to echo Nix here; it’s really weird how there is so much obsession over Tesla’s “inventory”, when their inventory is a much smaller percentage of their production than is the case for larger auto makers.

      1. Four Electrics says:

        Auto makers crush new; unsold cars? Color me skeptical. And if they don’t crush them, they sell every one of them, just like Tesla.

        1. realistic says:

          It’s an affectation of Tesla folks to misunderstand the industry, four. I think most T fans think that Elon’s revelation that “building cars is hard” was a discovery akin to Marconi’s first wireless. So the production and distribution model is not well understood.

          1. goodbyegascar says:

            “Affectation” does not make sense in this sentence. Look it up.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Four Electrics said:

          “Auto makers crush new; unsold cars? Color me skeptical. And if they don’t crush them, they sell every one of them, just like Tesla.”

          Okay, I was completely wrong on this point. Mea culpa. I thought that auto dealers were in most cases able to sell unsold cars, after the end of the model year, back to the manufacturer for partial credit. But after Googling the subject, I see that’s not so.

          So thank you for the correction, Four Electrics; I learned something today! 🙂

          1. Nix says:

            Pushy — I think you might be referring to this story about huge parking lot after huge parking lot stuffed full of unsold cars, where the author of the story says

            “all of these cars at the Nissan Sunderland test track have disappeared? Now I don’t believe they have all suddenly been sold. I would guess they may have been taken away and recycled to make room for the next vast production run.”


            1. Nix says:

              To be clear, I’m not actually saying this guy’s statement is accurate or factual. I’m simply pointing to the genesis of where the idea that excess cars were getting crushed and recycled.

              It isn’t something you dreamed up yourself, it was a story that bounced around the internet a few years ago where it probably got stuck in your head.

    3. mda says:

      Viktor– It sounds to me like the whole autopilot thing was a cover for market saturation issues. They don’t have enough sales to for production. Just last week Musk extended free supercharging to the S and X customers in order to drum up sales. The whole autopilot 2 hardware is a way to drum up sales. It is going to get a lot tougher from here on out for them.

      Then even with the extra like 2.7k in transit for the quarter, still doesn’t hit the 80k mark.

      76k/yr of 60-120k cars is still really impressive for a startup automaker, but they really need max capacity until the model 3 hits the streets and then I am guessing even with the book reserverations it may only translate into 200k sales especially with other cars starting to hit the market.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        mda said:

        “Viktor– It sounds to me like the whole autopilot thing was a cover for market saturation issues. They don’t have enough sales to for production.”

        Gosh, yet another anti-Tesla FUD conspiracy theory claiming that Tesla is making more cars than it can sell. Gotta admit, the anti-Tesla FUDsters are endlessly inventive in finding new and different ways to sell the same ol’ B.S. they’ve been shoveling out for years!

        “Just last week Musk extended free supercharging to the S and X customers in order to drum up sales.”

        Or maybe the extension was to make up for the fact that Tesla is running about two weeks late on its production due to Autopilot HW2 problems, and Tesla didn’t want to penalize those customers who wound up waiting longer than they should have, and thus unwillingly passed the deadline.

        In other words, that would be Tesla maintaining its reputation for superior customer service.

        Go Tesla!

        1. unlucky says:

          No, they did it to drum up sales. They said so.

          Not sure why drumming up sales would be a bad thing though. If customers see disproportionate value in something (i.e. more than it cost you to provide that feature) then why shouldn’t you continue to offer it?

          1. Nix says:

            “No, they did it to drum up sales. They said so.”

            Source please.

  4. cmina says:

    Jay, any idea on how many P100D’s they’ve managed to put out ?

    1. Bonaire says:

      400+ P100D at least. There are a few hundred in an inventory sheet that someone on a web forum had found (outside of using Tesla web directly).

      1. cmina says:

        It’d be very interesting to know how many of the announced “200 a week” they’ve managed to sell as the performance flavor. And for how much longer are they going to delay the 100D ..

  5. unlucky says:

    According to Pushy and others, mentioning that the AP2 transition was done badly means you’re an anti-Tesla concern troll. It is sad to see Tesla itself turn into an anti-Tesla troll like this. And the last sentence shows insideevs to be one also apparently.

    1. floydboy says:

      Who’s Pushy, how was the AP2 transition done badly(I thought it simply wasn’t done quickly enough) and since when did Tesla become anti-Tesla?!

      1. unlucky says:

        Pushy is Pushmi-Pullyu.

        And Tesla became anti-Tesla when they dared to say Tesla has done a bad job with the new Autopilot rollout. At least by Pushy’s standards.

        The new Autopilot was delivered to only 1,000 cars, on the last few hours of the quarter. Others are still waiting. And it doesn’t even work.


        Autosteer only works up to 35mph. Auto braking doesn’t work at all, only brake warning. And as the first commenter mentions for some owners the update doesn’t work at all anyway, it even disables regular cruise control and just says “calibrating” when you try to activate it.

        Tesla screwed up this switchover. Hearing it impacted their production too isn’t good either. Tesla removed their 2nd most famous feature (first being simply electric and simply amazing) by not managing a changeover in suppliers well.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          unlucky posted FUD:

          “Autosteer only works up to 35mph. Auto braking doesn’t work at all, only brake warning.”

          You know, dude, when posting FUD, it helps if you say things that the merely semi-informed might actually believe.

          I’m sure it will come as a great surprise to the thousands (tens of thousands?) of Tesla customers driving on freeways using AutoSteer, that they can’t use AutoSteer at highway speed! /snark

          And altho Tesla’s automatic braking clearly does not work in all situations where we’d like it to — just like similar systems in cars from every other auto maker — one can certainly find online videos of it working sufficiently well to prevent an accident. For example, here’s one reported just a week ago here at InsideEVs:


          Now run along, sonny, your mother is calling you from under the bridge where you live.

          1. unlucky says:


            That stuff is true. You can read it for yourself and really should have done so before erroneously calling me out.


            The software released to these 1,000 cars only has forward collision warning (no auto braking) and it only has “low-speed autosteer (beta)”. This is according to Tesla, not me.

            Note that the 35mph figure isn’t in that link directly, but if you go to the link that electrek links to (their own) you can see the 35mph figure.

            A good person admits when they are wrong instead of making names up about the other person.

            Now let me add one more thing to this. You say this shortfall is so short that it isn’t even believable. You said that when you didn’t believe it. Now that you know it to be true can you finally admit that Tesla has performed poorly in terms of autopilot 2 (so far)? Almost unbelievably poorly.

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              unlucky said:

              “A good person admits when they are wrong instead of making names up about the other person.”

              Yeah, and if there is anything even more despicable than a serial FUDster, it’s one who pretends butter-couldn’t-melt-in-my-mouth innocence when he’s called on his FUD. If you’re gonna be a serial anti-Tesla FUDster, then at least man up and admit it.

            2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              unlucky continued to post FUD as well as flinging more cowflop in my direction:

              “Now let me add one more thing to this. You say this shortfall is so short that it isn’t even believable.”

              I see you’re still making up B.S. I said no such thing, nor anything even remotely suggestive of that.

              “Now that you know it to be true can you finally admit that Tesla has performed poorly in terms of autopilot 2 (so far)? Almost unbelievably poorly.”

              I’ll certainly admit that you are very persistent in posting FUD which is mostly or entirely composed of complete and utter B.S.

              1. unlucky says:

                You disbelieved my statements, which were true. You found them so unbelievable that you didn’t even look into them and instead declared I must be a troll.

                You insulted me because you couldn’t believe these negative things about Tesla.

                You act like you care about being fair but you cannot see you have been completely unfair to me. And you can’t even cease to compound upon this.

                You have done me wrong.

                1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                  unlucky said:

                  “You disbelieved my statements, which were true.”

                  Let me give you the benefit of the doubt here, which is a courtesy you clearly don’t extend to me, and assume that you actually believe that. But you’re wrong. The thrust of what you wrote was to describe Tesla’s test release as a catastrophic and unplanned failure on the part of Tesla, rather than Tesla planning for and exercising caution in what, from the description in the Electrek article, is very clearly a beta test of the system. People have in the past described Tesla as using early buyers as “beta testers”. Well, in this case, that’s literally true!

                  “You found them so unbelievable that you didn’t even look into them and instead declared I must be a troll.”

                  Well, you are a troll, Dude. Own it. You’ve spent a lot of time writing troll posts here, so why not be proud of your accomplishment?

                  But aside from that, you are correct about me dismissing your Tesla bashing out of hand, without bothering to check your reference. But you’re pulling a bait-and-switch accusation here. I didn’t at all dispute anything regarding the shortfall in production, as you keep claiming I did. What I disputed — rightfully — was your flatly wrong, completely unqualified statements about Autopilot and Autosteer.

                  “You insulted me because you couldn’t believe these negative things about Tesla.”

                  Dude, you started this knife fight and now you’re whining ‘cuz you got cut. One of the things you should have learned in Kindergarten was that if you want to have a meaningful or even civil discussion with someone, then don’t start off by insulting them as the first thing out of your mouth.

                  “You act like you care about being fair but you cannot see you have been completely unfair to me.”

                  Yeah, I confess that you starting this entire discussion with a gratuitous insult thrown in my direction, as well as a “Let’s you and him fight” attempt by you to create friction between me and the InsideEVs staff, didn’t go down so well. So yes, that didn’t put me in the mood to read your comments in a calm and objective manner. Funny how that works, innit? Wasn’t that precisely what you intended? Again, you started a fight and now you’re whining about being in a fight.

                  And I haven’t seen any apology coming from your direction on any part of that. Not even one bit of it. Considering what sort of person you’ve show yourself to be, I don’t expect that to change.

                  “You have done me wrong.”

                  Pot, meet kettle.

                2. Nix says:

                  unlucky whined “You have done me wrong.”

                  Dude, you came here and intentionally started a fight, now you want to cry that a fight broke out? Get a hold of yourself, man.


      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        I’m “Pushy”, and here “unlucky” is outing himself as one of the hardcore anti-Tesla cult who engage in personal attacks on anyone who refutes their FUD.

        I criticize Tesla when I think they deserve it, which is something you’d never know from posts written by anti-Tesla cult members.

        There is a difference between stating an honest but negative opinion, and FUD. FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) describes a disinformation campaign, not honest opinion. Wikipedia describes FUD “generally a strategy to influence perception by disseminating negative and dubious or false information and a manifestation of the appeal to fear.”

        Naturally, the anti-Tesla cult members try hard to blur the very bright line between their FUD vs. our actual facts and honest opinions.

        1. unlucky says:

          It’s not FUD. I’m not making anything up here. Tesla has done a bad job with this switchover. Me saying it is not FUD. insideevs saying it is not FUD. Tesla saying it is not FUD.

          Just because something is a negative thing about Tesla doesn’t make it FUD. Not even if you don’t want to hear it.

          This has been a terrible changeover. Full stop. This is true no matter who says it. Tesla removed features and then promised them back after a long delay, then released that software even later than promised, to only a subset of customers and in faulty condition. And they say it hurt their production rate too. This is a terrible changeover by any definition. It is not FUD. It is not disinformation. It is not dubious. It is not false. It is not fear mongering. It is a fact. And it is not a dishonest opinion, it is an honest one.

          Pushy is trying to somehow make all this a falsehood to justify his revulsion that someone else noticed Tesla muffed this handover and in a way that is quite significant.

          Trying to declare it FUD falls completely flat when Tesla admits it too.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            It’s not FUD. I’m not making anything up here.

            Seriously? You’re trying to claim that, for example, your B.S. about Tesla AutoSteer not working above 35 MPH isn’t FUD?

            Repeating a lie doesn’t make it any less of a lie.

            1. Michael Will says:

              It’s because neither of you are dissecting it into the facts.

              AP1 does autosteer up to 90mph
              AP2 does not have the software release yet. A first rollout of a data collecting beta has been released to a small subset of people, 1000 supposedly and that one only works to 35mph because it is not what they are going to roll out to everybody. Initially it will only collect data then work up to 35mph. After that field testing and probably a bug fixing phase they will roll out the real version to all.

              They are a bit behind their ambitious schedule but that’s better than rushing it out to prevent naysayers from falling all over themselves. Better safe upon release.

              I am a bit jealous not to be part of that adventure as my model X has AP1 but I can confirm it works as it did before.

              1. unlucky says:

                I’ve only been talking about the software for the new hardware. I did this because my comments are bout the AP2 transition. Pushy does seem to be confused about this.

                The software version for all AP2 owners coming out next week will also only be low-speed. The updates for higher speeds will come along later.

                As you mention, AP1 seems to continue as before for now. Which is good since they have more features.

              2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                Michael Will said:

                “AP1 does autosteer up to 90mph
                AP2 does not have the software release yet. A first rollout of a data collecting beta has been released to a small subset of people, 1000 supposedly and that one only works to 35mph because it is not what they are going to roll out to everybody.”

                If Unlucky meant his remarks to be taken only in the context of that test release to 1000 customers, then he should have said so. No, he made entirely unqualified statements, and I quote:

                “Autosteer only works up to 35mph. Auto braking doesn’t work at all, only brake warning.”

                Those are utterly false, factually incorrect statements, period. Full stop.

                Now, it’s possible that this was a case of poor communication on the part of Unlucky, rather than intentional FUD. It’s possible — barely — that unlucky meant his remarks to be taken only in the context of that very limited test release. However, since Unlucky has continued to post further FUD on the subject, including accusing me of saying things which I absolutely did not say or imply, as well as starting this entire sub-thread with an unprovoked insult thrown at me, I’m not inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

                One of many dishonest argument/debate tactics used by FUDsters is to insinuate something without having the honesty to come out and say it directly. Making an unqualified assertion, and then later trying to backpedal or weasel out of it by claiming his remarks were “taken out of context”, would appear to be just a variation on that tactic.

                1. unlucky says:

                  The article is about AP2. My statements were clearly about AP2 from the very first. This was true in the other thread, it was true in this one.

                  There was a problem in communication and it wasn’t on my end. You completely failed to try to understand my comments at all. You instead are just acting in your idea that I’m a troll and assuming what I said must be wrong.

                  But no, my statements are not about just this “very limited test release”. The release scheduled for a week later (this week now) to all AP2 customers will also be limited to load speed and as far as I know no auto braking. Tesla said so themselves. You have to understand this is normal for AP2 customers for the time being. Tesla simply hasn’t finished the software.

                  You are still saying awful, awful things about me simply because you cannot accept what is going on with the AP2 software. When Tesla ships out the same reduced feature set to all AP2 customers next week you are going to attack me further for it?

                  I have refrained from saying nothing. I’m not insinuating anything. My statements about Tesla’s poor handling of the AP2 switchover have been clear and they still are.

                  My point was that Tesla used to have a world-renowned self-driving feature on their cars and since they muffed this switchover they left buyers with nothing for 3 months. And when new software comes at the very last minute before a deadline it often is shoddy. And indeed this software is shoddy. It is not nearly as good as what AP1 customers got and Tesla bought their reputation on.

                  This is what I said all along, it is what I am still saying. And it is still true. And according to Tesla’s own statements it’ll still be true when the software rolls out to all AP2 owners this week. It’ll be true not because I am a FUDster but because Tesla has muffed this handover badly.

                2. Doggydogworld says:

                  I don’t have a dog in this fight, but it was completely obvious to me that Unlucky was only referring to the AP2 rollout. He never said a thing about AP1 and the link he posted was clearly about AP2.

  6. floydboy says:

    I thought the Model X numbers would have been lower, considering the amount of negative press on it.

    1. pjwood1 says:

      Yeah, good to see the ratio tighten up between the two models. 76k cars, while short of 80-90k, is an amazing feat. No one else growing like this.

      Kudos Tesla!

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Yes, I was very pleasantly surprised to see that Consumer Reports rated the Model X as #8 in customer satisfaction for all the cars it reviews. You’d never know the MX was in CR’s top 10 in happy ownership, from all the bad press over its falcon-wing doors, as well as more minor problems.

      Clearly the negative opinions expressed in various reviews and online comments exaggerate the problems that actual Model X owners have.

      However, I am mentally kicking myself for not realizing that. As I have observed numerous times, all the attention which Tesla Motors gets from the media is a two-edged sword. Very good for Tesla in providing free advertising, but that same media attention focuses more negativity than is appropriate when any problem at all is perceived; even a minor problem.

      1. Four Electrics says:

        It’s not an exaggeration. As the X ages more problems become apparent. Just today my FWD would not close. That’s a very annoying feature to have in a car. Even the Detroit clunkers of old had doors that actually worked.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          On the one hand, Four Electrics, you have for years now conducted a serial anti-Tesla FUD campaign here on InsideEVs, in which you tell us all about how terrible and awful Tesla’s cars are.

          On the other hand, you continue to post about a Tesla car which you claim to have bought, fairly recently, and drive.

          So I ask once again: Which set of lies are we supposed to believe?

          1. goodbyegascar says:


            Is it possible that “Four Electrics” has been fabricating his ownership of a Tesla product?

            He hates the company, its people, their vision, and its products, so why should anyone believe he would actually purchase a Tesla Model X?

            He’s bogus.

  7. Assaf says:

    Comparing the quarterly #s to Oct-Nov from EV sales blog, I’m getting ~6.5k worldwide Model S deliveries in December.

    Which means that the Leaf is actually in the driver’s seat to surprisingly hang on to its slim lead for the global #1 sales spot for 2016.

    Coming into December, Leaf led Model S by ~3.4k sales, and December is likely to be above-average (i.e., >4k) for the Leaf as well.

    Most of the smart money was on Model S catching up, but it seems that those autopilot delays had cost them the global crown (not the US crown, though; not by a long shot).

    Am I right?

    1. cmina says:

      Considering the discounts they’ve been giving on the Leaf lately, I’d say they are very serious about adding “World’s best seller EV” to their talking points. And I think they are definitely getting it. At a price, obviously ..

      1. Assaf says:

        Cumulatively, Leaf is already the global best-seller by a huge margin. Something like 100k sales lead over #2, which I believe is the Model S.

        Leaf also won the annual global #1 crown in 2011, 2013 and 2014. (Volt and Model S won 2012 and 2015, respectively)
        So it’s more about maintaining its position during increasing competition, rather than establishing it for the first time.

        Well, let’s see what Carlos has to say on Thursday… being in our 3rd and final year of a second 1st-gen Leaf lease, I really hope it’s not another bluff or fizzle.

    2. unlucky says:

      It seems so. But then again the Leaf is so much cheaper I think any company would be happy to sell a touch fewer $100K cars than $25K Leafs.

  8. ModernMarvelFan says:

    This isn’t as bad as I had thought.

    It is actually pretty good. Of course, it is still way below the original “stretch goal” from beginning of 2016 for 85K-90K target (which was later revised down to only 80K).

    I am now worried about any meaningful delivery of Model 3 in 2017.

    1. Vexar says:

      I think you shouldn’t worry. For starters, the Model III is going to have a different production line, so it will be independent of what the S and X are doing. Additionally, the vehicles that Tesla didn’t count as deliveries should be floating and rolling into owners’ hands by MLK, Jr. Day. The most important part, though, is that the Autopilot 2 hardware supply chain is sorted out already. Everything else is smaller and Tesla has redundancy on their supply chains, they said so. The Model III doesn’t have the falcon-wing doors, so no complexity there, they designed the roof to be more robot-friendly, and they bought the robot company they are using for the Model III. The next major increment I’m expecting is news of the Model III factory or assembly line within NUMMI being ready. That is where I expect the most risk.

      If you were thinking you’d get your Model III this year, you’re behind employees of SpaceX and Tesla (and Solar City?) and existing Tesla owners.

  9. wavelet says:

    Not really shocking, given past history and what Jay noted in the November Report Card.

    However, I feel we should prettify the facts. Tesla’s guidance wasn’t 80K for 2016. It was “80K to 90K” to begin with, as stated in SEC filings and noted in InsideEvs

    and was not changed in any of the quarterly reports AFAIK.

    IMO that means the actual target should be counted as 85K (midway between 80K and 90K), and tesla therefore missed on nearly 9K cars, so 10% of guidance.

    Blaming it on Autopilot is wrong. Instead, Tesla management should be blaming itself for not making realistic estimates. Once you have a decent sized manufacturing business, many operational issues will pop up, and safety margins need to be taken for estimates.
    Small startups are always over-optimistic because they have to be — noone gives them enouhg money for margins — but Tesla should beyond that stage.
    Unfortunately, this will be used to unjustifiably denigrate both the company and the EV marketing general.

    I also don’t think there’s any chance whatsoever they’ll make 500K cars in 2018. 200-250K cars will be a very good result… And would have been objectively a good one in any case, but will now be discounted if it happens because of the over-ambitious plans.

    1. Bonaire says:

      In July of 2014, they stated that they would exit 2015 with a production and demand rate of an annualized number of 100,000. See Q2 Financial Results from 2014.

    2. Nix says:

      wavelet — According to your logic, if Tesla had sold 84,000 units, you would have said they had fallen 1,000 units short of their guidance. Even though they would have been 4,000 units past their lower guidance.

      Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. You don’t get to redefine the goalposts to be 5 yards farther back than where they actually stand.

      If a company (any company) gives guidance in a range, hitting the bottom of the range means they hit their guidance.

      They missed by 3,770 with 6,450 units in transit. They didn’t miss by 8,770. They didn’t miss by 9,000.

      Now I don’t get to say that they hit their numbers because they have more cars in transit than they were short of guidance. Because that would be moving the goal posts in the other direction. Because they always have a certain number of cars in transit for delivery at the end of each quarter. Even if this carry-over is bigger than previous quarters.

      See how this works? The numbers are what the numbers are, no moving the goal posts.

    3. Nix says:

      “Small startups are always over-optimistic because they have to be”

      And serious investors who have a number of startups under their belts know that startups always have over-optimistic targets, and those investors aren’t at all shaken when targets are missed.

      How relatively small this miss was actually shows that Tesla is maturing in their production. Because serious investors in startups expect explosive growth (like Tesla’s 64% growth) to be missed by quarters, not by just a few weeks like this near-miss.

    4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      wavelet said:

      “IMO that means the actual target should be counted as 85K (midway between 80K and 90K), and tesla therefore missed on nearly 9K cars, so 10% of guidance.”

      You have some good points, and I think you’ve pretty well summed up the situation. However, I think you’re mis-using the term “guidance” here. You can properly say Tesla is 10% short of its original goal for 2016, but since Tesla did express its guidance as a range, not an exact target number, then I think Nix has a point also.

  10. Trollnonymous says:

    Ship a product out with the option without AP2 hardware/software at reduced cost.
    Then let’s see which version sells more.

    1. unlucky says:

      They effectively already do. The promise of future autopilot costs $5000-$7500. If you elect not to take these you get the car more cheaply.

  11. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Glass half empty view: Tesla missed the lower end of its annual production estimate, the “guidance”, by 4.7%.

    Glass half full view: Tesla increased its production by 64% over last year!

    That glass looks pretty full to me. 🙂

    Go Tesla!

    1. Someone out there says:

      The reality view: Tesla needs to make many more cars just to break even so not reaching projections means profitability is delayed further.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Yes, but the only reason that Tesla needs to sell even more cars just to break even is that they’re spending money on ramping up production even faster than they’re making it. Hence the need to borrow more and more money.

        If Tesla would stop spending money on expansion, then it would start showing a net profit every year, and then we could drive a stake through the heart of this nonsense about Tesla “losing” money.

        And people who know more than I do about finances think so, too:


  12. georgeS says:

    Good job Tesla.

    hopefully good news out of the shareholders meeting -ie announcement of cells under prod.

    Pretty decent mix on the number of X’s also.

  13. Pi Li says:

    Discrepancy or fuzzy math. Q4 Model X stated as over 9K by Tesla, insideevs at 4.7K. No way 4.3K got delivered international. Inventory or in some storage garage to count as sale. Same for overall 2016 numbers (in US, ~43K insideevs of 76K Tesla). 33K intl? So 2017 sales, esp intl, will pop out of a rabbit hat.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Tesla does not count “inventory” (cars produced but not delivered to a customer, or paid for) as “sales”. Not ever. Suggesting otherwise is factually incorrect. Inventory cars are counted as inventory.

      If you’re really interested in what is (or isn’t) happening with Tesla’s production, it’s helpful to read the analysis from InsideEVs’ staff in its “Monthly Plug-in Sales Scorecard”, in the “Tesla Model S” and “Tesla Model X” sections. December’s hasn’t yet been posted, altho hopefully it will be tomorrow. In the meantime, you can read last month’s, which is still pertinent:


  14. Just_Chris says:

    I always prefer to think about things like sales targets in terms of days rather than numbers. How many days were Tesla off their 80,000 vehicle target? If it will take them another month to hit the 80k mark they are a month behind where they thought they should be this time last year, if it is just a matter of days for them to catch up then they are doing fine and this is little more than a blip.

    The other thing with sales and production targets are they are often a lagging indicator so only telling you what happened in the past. This is another point where thinking in days rather than numbers of cars delivered is a far better indicator of where Tesla is now. If they lost 3-4 weeks in production but are only a few days behind their target then they are in a strong position, if they lost 2-3 days production and are 3-4 weeks behind then the opposite is true and we will most likely just be waiting another few months before something else means Tesla couldn’t meet their next target.

    I am sure the production engineers and the management team at Tesla know exactly what they are doing. I am pretty sure that they made a decision to go with upgrading the auto-pilot hardware knowing that it would risk the end of year target. What excites me is that for them to risk something as important as the end of year target means that hardware upgrade was pretty important. There is always a chance it was a mistake or that they were overconfident but I think it is more likely that it allows them to do something dramatic in the next few months.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Well, if Tesla had steady, regular production, rather than the batch processing it uses to maximize deliveries at end of every quarter, and if Tesla has solved the production hold-up due to problems with Autopilot HW2, then a 4.7% miss in guidance would equal 2.444 weeks of production for the year. (I think counting weeks would be more clear than days, since individual days of production are missed on holidays, if not weekends.)

      But even that would be, as you say, a “lagging indicator”, since Tesla keeps ramping up its rate of production. The production rate at the end of a year should be significantly higher than the rate at the beginning of that year… and now we’re into another year.

      I think the best we can do is to choose our method of counting, declare up front what that method is, and try to do honest comparisons — such as comparing the last 4th quarter production to the previous year’s 4th quarter production. It’s when someone gets into cherry-picking figures, or comparing figures arrived out by different methods of counting, or comparing financial periods that are not really equivalent, that they get into “creative accounting”, and get into a case of “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.”

      1. Just_Chris says:

        It really depends what you are trying to work out. What interests me is the ability of tesla to deliver the model 3 in a reasonable time frame and Tesla staying a float. So for me the question is are we going to see a massive blow out in the production times and lost revenue? My feeling is missing the target in the way they did is ok because they are probably churning out nearly 3000 cars a week right now so being 4000 cars short is unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Yes there was a problem in October / November time but that problem appears fixed and they are now producing cars at a decent rate. Hitting or missing 80,000 cars this year is in a lot of ways irrelevant, it’s important to have targets but they are not the only gauge of health. If I was an investor in tesla I would be ok with not hitting this target because it means every car being produced from now has the potential to be fully autonomous. That is a big company goal and a big selling point for this year. Tesla have invested up front in their production process while still small that will save a lot in the long run.

    2. Four Electrics says:

      If you read up past Tesla misses, of which there many, you’ll find that they’re always accompanied by a “dog ate my homework” excuse. The excuses sound reasonable until you realize that, as with success, there are always reasons for any and every failure. Listing them isn’t redeeming. At the end of the day, other auto manufacturers suffer hiccups and plans gone awry, too, but are a lot more introspective about it than Tesla, which allows them to make better forecasts despite the unforseen problems that inevitably arise.

      1. Nix says:

        Every other major car maker is able to hide individual delays and misses in individual models by having dozens and dozens of models of cars they sell under a bunch of brands.

        For example, if GM has production problems with the Volt, it is still a rounding error on 10 million units sold world-wide in a year.

        If you don’t understand that ALL car companies suffer minor delays and setbacks of this sort, you are delusional.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        More FUD.

        Other auto makers don’t sell directly to the public; they sell to auto dealers. Thus they have a buffer to mask any delays in production.

        I’ve been amused at all the gnashing of teeth about people who are trying to get a Chevy Bolt right now! The endless discussion of small groups or even individual units of the Bolt sent to various dealers, reads very much like the discussions on the Tesla Motors Club forum from people who are waiting to get their car.

        Usually legacy auto makers don’t have this kind of intense scrutiny of their rate of production or shipments to dealers, but this level of scrutiny is quite normal for Tesla. The leader in the EV revolution is also the only auto maker which sells most (nearly all) of its cars thru individual orders, so any delay in people receiving deliveries is very quickly made public.

        No offense to anyone who wants a Bolt, and I certainly hope they’ll enjoy their car — if and when they get it! But as a Tesla Motors fan, it’s nice to see the shoe on the other foot for once.

        And of course Four Electrics will never admit it since he’s a serial anti-Tesla FUDster, but the situation with the Bolt is “The exception which proves the rule”.

  15. Benz says:

    Q1 total deliveries: 14,810
    Tesla Model S: 12,420 (?)
    Tesla Model X: 2,400 (?)

    Q2 total deliveries: 14,402
    Tesla Model S: 9,764
    Tesla Model X: 4,638

    Q3 total deliveries: 24,821
    Tesla Model S: 16,047
    Tesla Model X: 8,774

    Q4 total deliveries: 22,200
    Tesla Model S: 12,700
    Tesla Model X: 9,500

    Annual Totals: 76,243 (13 too many actually)
    Tesla Model S: 50,931
    Tesla Model X: 25,312

    Share of total annual deliveries:
    Tesla Model S: 66.8%
    Tesla Model X: 33.2%

    This will change substantially in 2017.

  16. Someone out there says:

    But in 2018 they will deliver 500k cars… yeah, no.

  17. EV_Drive says:

    Good job Tesla! Producing 83,000 cars is a huge feat!!! Producing 300,000 cars in 2018 seems like a stretch however, I hope they can as I want my Model 3 and I actually want it in 2017 🙂

  18. Four Electrics says:

    Does anyone else feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day? The news never changes.

    In all seriousness, Tesla is a unique stock. Other companies’ estimates can usually be considered to be near the lower end of how they will actually perform. Tesla’s estimates, on the other hand, can be considered an upper bound on what they will accomplish. You can take it to the bank that they will never make the number they give you.

  19. SteveSeattle says:

    In my job there seems to be always 2 results:
    I am optimistic in my projection, something unexpected happens and I am late.
    I am conservative in my projection, management tells me to do it in much less time, something unexpected happens and I am late.
    Is working at Tesla like that?

    1. Someone out there says:

      LOL! That is exactly how it is! I am often asked “how long would it take to do X?”. If I say anything more than a week my boss gets upset and demands that it will be finished in a week. Of course it never is, partly because just the next day I could get a new task that also have to be finished in a week…

  20. Four Electrics says:

    Every year Tesla says, “we missed our estimates, but it was because of the whozamawhatsit! It screwed us!”.

    And they’re right. It was the whozamawhatsit. And occasionally also the thingamajig. But Tesla only recognizes it as a danger after the fact. Their ability to be completely blindsided by random things betrays a deep lack of understanding of the car business.

    And that leads me to be very skeptical of the Model 3 forecasts, which will probably end up being wrong because of the whatchamacallit.

    1. Anon says:

      Why are you complaining about Tesla dealing with planned or unexpected production externalities– multiple times in the same thread?

      First, you admit real issues can and do crop up. Starts off sounding reasonable…

      Then, you complain they have to deal with said issues, making them miss guidance by less than 5 percent. But not just once, you post about how Tesla never learns over and over and over. But in actuality, they’re doing fine, and breaking production records.

      You’re the one who never learns, so your credibility in posting, is lost. In fact, I could start a DRINKING GAME over your how dumb you think Tesla is. Zzzz. Spare me.

      I’m just glad you’re not the CEO of Tesla. People would have stopped listening to your pedantic, worthless dead-horse-whipping a long time ago.

    2. unlucky says:

      Musk is a very optimistic person. To a fault really. Their estimates and missed deadlines are certainly a reflection of this.

      Some people just aren’t interested in hearing realistic deadlines from their workers they only want to impose unrealistic ones. Typically it’s an indication they think people can work harder or faster than they estimate. But at some point it just makes the person who consistently propagates the bad estimates to look like a bad source of realistic info.

    3. Nix says:

      4 elec — You sound very childish. Stuff happens. Get real. I bet all the software in your pink cloud world gets delivered on time, and all the construction contractors working on your house start and stop everything on time too…. *laugh*

      Tesla isn’t just churning over the 8th generation of a gas car that they’ve been building for decades. They aren’t making incremental changes to vehicles being built for a century.

      They are launching brand new cars from the ground up. Inventing autonomous driving systems that aren’t in any current production vehicles.

      Stop whining. This is what sea-change technologies look like.

  21. SparkFiat-Lease - M3 reserved; Bolt - perhaps! says:

    Wondering how a ramp up from 77k annual is going to get to 300k annual by 2018? That’s an steep production ramp for a company that routinely has shown supply line challenges.

    1. Vexar says:

      There are articles about their new factory process for the Model III. Heavily focused on automation, even more so than before. That’s why there exists Tesla Automation now. The Gigafactory is already making the new battery cells, I await news of that this week. They are (about) doubling the size of their Fremont factory (although where is everyone going to park now?). This is going to be a busy newsweek, what with CES going on as well!

    2. BenG says:

      They aim high with the Model 3, a brand new high volume production line into play. Sure they will likely be delayed along the way and won’t hit their numbers. But as long as they are in the ballpark, like they were this quarter, investors will overlook it in favor of the growth story.

      It’s probably over-valued. ‘Story’ high-growth tech stocks often are, unless you can pick the winners in advance – not an easy thing to do. I’d stick with a more conservative investment approach like a Vanguard internationally diversified balanced index stock/bond fund.

    3. Anon says:

      Model III will begin production, but so many things are still in flux currently, I don’t expect large numbers built in 2017.

      My uninformed guess says maybe 3000 – 4000 by December?

      1. BenG says:

        I think we’ll just see mostly token sales in 2017, like for the Bolt and Prime, and the Model X before that.

  22. Doggydogworld says:

    Jay – Tesla delivered about 2700 fewer cars than they produced (24,882 – ~22,200). This is consistent with “2,750 vehicles missed being counted as delivereing in Q4…”. But cars “in transit” only grew by ~1400 (6450 – 5065).

    So where are the other 1300 cars?

    You said before finished cars that have not left the factory lot yet are not counted as “in transit”. But everything I’ve read on forums and in the 10-K says cars are either “in production” or “in transit”. I can’t find a “sitting on the factory lot” category. If This implies the additional 1300 cars don’t have customers.

    Are you certain cars don’t count as “in transit” until they leave the factory lot? Thanks.

Leave a Reply