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Tesla missed guidance with only 14,820 vehicles delivered in Q1 2016, blames Model X supplier parts shortages


When it comes to Tesla, the focus is primarily on the Model 3 these days, but the automaker still needs to keep selling the Model S and X if it wants to bring the vehicle to market. Today, Tesla announced deliveries for the first quarter 2016 and the company missed its delivery goal of 16,000 units, with only 14,820 total deliveries from January to March. It’s the first quarter in which the Model X significantly contributed to the delivery goal with 2,400 units…

Yet the automaker is blaming its delivery miss on “severe Model X supplier parts shortages”, but Tesla wrote in a press release that these issues have mostly been resolved and that during the last week of full production in March, the automaker was producing 750 Model X vehicles per week. For those without a calculator handy, that’s about 40,000 Model X shipments/year run rate.

Tesla reiterated that it plans to deliver between 80,000 to 90,000 new vehicles in 2016 – meaning that the automaker has now 3 quarters left to deliver at least 65,000 cars to achieve the lower-end of its guidance.

Last quarter (Q4 2015), Tesla had record deliveries of 17,400 units, but only 208 Model X’s.

Here’s a chart of Tesla’s total global deliveries since the introduction of the Model S in 2012:

tesla Q1 2016

Due to the significant miss in deliveries, Tesla is adding more details to its quarterly delivery number release and acknowledges that it is unusual for the company to do so. The company is trying to convey that it is learning from its mistakes with the Model X ramp up and it will make sure not to repeat them with the Model 3 due to be release next year.

Here’s the full press release:



Tesla Q1 deliveries consisted of 12,420 Model S vehicles and 2,400 Model X vehicles. Q1 deliveries were almost 50% more than Q1 last year and Tesla remains on track to deliver 80,000 to 90,000 new vehicles in 2016.

The Q1 delivery count was impacted by severe Model X supplier parts shortages in January and February that lasted much longer than initially expected. Once these issues were resolved, production and delivery rates improved dramatically. By the last full week of March, the build rate rose to 750 Model X vehicles per week, however many of these vehicles were built too late to be delivered to their owners before end of quarter.

The root causes of the parts shortages were: Tesla’s hubris in adding far too much new technology to the Model X in version 1, insufficient supplier capability validation, and Tesla not having broad enough internal capability to manufacture the parts in-house. The parts in question were only half a dozen out of more than 8,000 unique parts, nonetheless missing even one part means a car cannot be delivered. Tesla is addressing all three root causes to ensure that these mistakes are not repeated with the Model 3 launch.

Because production is now on plan and Q1 orders exceeded Q1 deliveries by a wide margin, with Q1 Model S orders being 45% higher than Q1 last year, Tesla reaffirms its full-year delivery guidance. These additional details are being provided because of the unusual circumstances of this quarter and will not typically be provided in quarterly delivery releases going forward. As always, more detailed information will be contained in Tesla’s quarterly shareholder letter.

There may be small changes to the Q1 delivery count (usually well under 1%), as Tesla only counts a delivery if it is transferred to the end customer and all paperwork is correct.

Tesla vehicle deliveries represent only one measure of the company’s financial performance and should not be relied on as an indicator of quarterly financial results, which depend on a variety of factors, including the cost of sales, foreign exchange movements and mix of directly leased vehicles.

Featured Image: Model S and X side by side at the Gilroy Supercharger by Steve Jurvetson via Flickr.

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  1. craigvg - 7 years ago

    When will the earnings call be?

    • Niko - 7 years ago

      time to introduce the refresh….

      • Illuminati - 7 years ago

        Q1 Model S orders being 45% higher than Q1 last year…

    • Fred Lambert - 7 years ago

      it hasn’t been confirmed yet but likely early next month.

  2. Driverguy01 - 7 years ago

    May 4, 2016
    Q1 2016 Tesla Motors Inc Earnings Release (Estimated) – 4:00PM EDT

  3. MorinMoss - 7 years ago

    So how does the shortage of parts line up with the quality control problems? If vehicles were waiting for a handful of pieces, doesn’t that mean they had more time to work out the kinks?

  4. Chico - 7 years ago

    So the difference in deliveries between Q1 2015 and Q2 2015 is 1487 units. Yet we see this as a small difference on the bar chart. The comparison between Q4 2015 and Q1 2016 (580 units) is made to look like a massive drop? Looks like sensationalism to me.

    • Fred Lambert - 7 years ago

      Lol the chart is sensational? It’s the most straight forward chart there is…

      • Chico - 7 years ago

        Exactly. You´d think someone would be able to get it right.;-)

    • FLHerne - 7 years ago

      Since when does 17400 – 14820 equal 580?

      The drop is _2580_. That’s the second-largest change ever, after the enormous increase in the previous quarter. Half as big again as the one you mention.


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