Tesla shipments surpass forecasts

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Tesla shipments surpass forecasts

Tesla Motors delivered 24,500 vehicles in the third quarter, topping analysts’ estimates, after CEO Elon Musk implored employees to boost sales ahead of a plan to raise more capital.

The maker of electric cars and energy storage devices shipped about 15,800 Model S sedans and 8,700 Model X sport-utility vehicles, Palo Alto, California-based Tesla said in a statement Monday.

The quarter was Tesla’s last chance to show that it can be profitable before it raises money to ramp up production of the new Model 3. Musk urged employees in an Aug. 29 e-mail to work on “building and delivering every car we possibly can.” The company has been taking aggressive measures to keep sales of the Model S and Model X strong while it awaits the smaller, less-expensive Model 3, which isn’t slated to begin volume output until late next year.

Third-quarter deliveries were positive and beat most estimates, said Jeffrey Osborne, an analyst at Cowen & Co., who rates the stock “underperform.”

“We were looking for 20,500 this quarter with an acceleration in 4Q to get to 50,000 for the second half,” Osborne said by e-mail. “We believe bullish investors were in the 22,000 to 23,000 range.”

Yet the company offered no commentary “to allay investor concerns about discounting to make numbers and drive positive cash flow in the quarter,” Osborne wrote. Musk last week urged employees to hew to pricing policies, responding to concerns that Tesla was straying from a long-held policy against discounting its cars.

Tesla on Monday said its delivery count should be viewed as slightly conservative because it only counts a car if it’s transferred to the customer and all paperwork is correct. The company reiterated that it expected to deliver 50,000 vehicles in the second half.

Tesla introduced a 60-kilowatt-hour Model S in June that starts at $66,000 before federal or state incentives.

In August, the automaker added a 100-kwh battery option with additional range. The company also announced a two-year lease on orders placed by Sept. 12. Bloomberg

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