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Tesla deliveries fall short of expectations despite record quarter

Tesla
Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Tesla delivered a record 97,000 vehicles last quarter but nonetheless fell short of some analysts' expectations for the July–September stretch.

Why it matters: The electric automaker's stock tumbled roughly 6% in after-hours trading following Wednesday's announcement, and is currently down around 5%.

  • CEO Elon Musk had raised expectations in an email to staff last week when he said Tesla had a shot at hitting 100,000.
  • Stepping back, Tesla is a crucial player in the movement of EVs into the mainstream.

What they're saying: "This is a credibility hit. This is a textbook example of Elon not being disciplined and having difficulty managing expectations," Gene Munster of the VC firm Loup Ventures tells Bloomberg.

But, but, but: Tesla said orders are at record levels and emphasized interest in its Model 3 sedan, which is aimed at a wider pool of buyers than the costlier Model S and Model X.

  • "As was also the case in Q2, nearly all of our Model 3 orders were received from customers who did not previously hold a reservation, solidifying the transition to generating strong organic demand," Tesla said in a release.
  • "We are continuing to focus on increasing production to meet that demand."

One big question: Can Tesla hit its full-year goal of at least 360,000 deliveries worldwide, which would require 105,000 in Q3?

What's next: As we noted Friday, a more important moment arrives when Tesla announces Q3 earnings in coming weeks.

Go deeper: Tesla's next moment under the microscope