Tesla Falls Short of 2016 Delivery Goals

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Tesla delivered 22,200 cars in the last quarter of 2016. That’s a lot of luxury electric vehicles, but it isn’t enough to meet Tesla’s goals for the year.

The company forecast deliveries of between 80,000 and 90,000 cars this year, but it came in at 76,230. Before you start counting Tesla’s glory days as a thing of the past, take a look at what happened with the company this year and the picture gets less bleak.

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Since you don’t walk into a dealership, find a car on the lot, and drive it home the same day when you buy a Tesla, the company counts only vehicles delivered and not vehicles sold. There are people out there who purchased cars in 2016, but because those vehicles haven’t been delivered, they’re not counted in these figures.

It’s not as much a sales problem as a production problem. During the second half of the year is when the numbers fell short. Their target was 50,000 vehicles, but the actual figure was 46,700. Production issues in the last quarter involving new Autopilot software pushed out deliveries.

Despite efforts to push out as many cars as possible before the year’s end, Tesla missed shipping cutoffs in Europe and Asia. They had the cars, but simply couldn’t deliver them in time to count for their 2016 figures. Tesla says:

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.

Despite the lack of delivered vehicles, Tesla insists everything is going swimmingly. Demand was high during the fourth quarter with Models S and Model X orders setting an all-time record. Orders were 24 percent higher than in the third quarter and 52 percent higher than the same period in 2015.

The delivery delays may help Tesla see a bump at the start of this year. There are 6,450 vehicles waiting to be delivered. They’re all in transit and will count toward first quarter deliveries for 2017.

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Even with the delayed deliveries, Tesla produced 83,922 cars for the year. That’s a 64 percent increase over 2015, and it’s a sign things are still going strong.

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Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin