Tesla Inc. delivered a record number of electric cars in the second quarter, but still has a long way to go to live up to Chief Executive Elon Musk’s promises for the year.
The electric-car company reported delivery of 95,200 cars in the second quarter Tuesday afternoon, a record for a three-month period and higher than analysts expected. Tesla
shares, down more than 30% so far this year after a disappointing performance in the first quarter, jumped more than 7% in after-hours trading following the announcement.
After delivering a record 91,000 cars in the final three months of 2018, Tesla hit issues with logistics as deliveries of the Model 3 moved beyond the U.S., leading to huge losses and disappointing delivery numbers in the first three months of this year. Concerns about demand for the car as well as for the more expensive earlier models, the Model S and Model X, had grown loud.
Musk, in a series of leaked emails, exhorted his employees to work hard to beat the record delivery total from the fourth quarter of 2018 in recent weeks. Tesla had a head start, as more than 10,000 cars were in transit at the end of the first quarter, according to Tesla’s statements at that time.
“While our demand is strong, we have a lot of vehicle deliveries to catch up to in order to have a successful quarter,” Musk reportedly said in one of the leaked emails, at the end of May.
Musk’s goals for the entire year demand that deliveries and production continue to accelerate. Musk has stated that Tesla will deliver 360,000 to 400,000 cars this year, but has delivered fewer than 160,000 through the first six months. Tesla did not reiterate that annual guidance, as it did in its announcement of first-quarter deliveries.
“We believe we are well positioned to continue growing total production and deliveries in Q3,” Tesla stated in its announcement Tuesday.
Tesla will not start with as much of a head start, as there were 7,400 cars in transit at the end of the second quarter, down from 10,600 at the end of the first quarter. Tesla said it would no longer provide that metric in its quarterly deliveries and production announcements moving forward.
“Importantly, orders received during the quarter exceeded deliveries this quarter and thus the company believes it will be able to continue to grow its deliveries into 3Q19, which is important to hit its aggressive 2H implied guidance and year-end unit forecasts,” Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives wrote in a note Tuesday afternoon. Ives maintained as neutral rating and $230 price target.
Tesla said that it delivered 77,550 Model 3 cars in the second quarter, and 17,650 combined Model S and Model X units. Analysts on average expected Tesla to deliver a total of about 91,000 cars, though that number was higher than 100 million as recently as last September, according to FactSet. Tesla produced a total of 87,048 cars in the quarter, with 72,531 being of the cheaper Model 3 variety.
Tesla stock closed Tuesday with a 1.2% decline at $224.55, 33% lower than 12 months ago after having the worst first half of any Nasdaq-100 stock. The S&P 500 index
has gained 8.7% in the past year in comparison. Tesla shares were trading for more than $240 in after-hours trading Tuesday afternoon.
In a note Tuesday afternoon, RBC analysts said that the after-hours gains “could be close to a near-term top” for Tesla shares as investors await the full earnings report, “where the focus will shift to auto gross margins, cash flow and sustainability of demand.”
“While 2Q19 units were better, we still caution that mix of vehicles (and discounting to move units) could weigh on profitability and hence 2Q19 likely sacrificed margins for units,” wrote the analysts, who have an underperform rating on the stock.