Will Tesla end 2017 with a U.S. sales decline?
John Goreham's picture

Will Tesla's U.S. Year-end Sales Actually Decline Compared to 2016?

This was supposed to be Tesla's breakout year for sales with the new Model 3 leading the way. By our math, Tesla will do well just to match last year's U.S. sales.

Tesla has hundreds of thousands of reservation holders eagerly awaiting a new Model 3 electric vehicle, but the company can't produce them. Production snafus and delays have Tesla scrambling to push cars out the door to owners, many of whom are actually Tesla's own employees. We took a close look at Tesla's year to date sales in the U.S and discovered an interesting fact. Tesla is dangerously close to selling fewer cars in 2017 in this country than it did in 2016.

Tesla Sales Overview
With 11 months of sales behind it, Inside EVs estimated that Tesla had sold 22,085 Model S luxury cars, 18,015 Model X minivan/crossovers, and just 712 Model 3 compact sedans. That is a total of 40,812 automobiles. Last year, Tesla sold 47,119 cars in total. Can Tesla find a way to do in this month of December what it has done only a handful of times in the past and deliver more than 6,300 vehicles? It can. But there is no guarantee.

Tesla Strong Q4s
Tesla has a history of strong quarter-end deliveries. Unlike every other automaker doing business in the U.S., Tesla withholds its delivery and sales data until forced to disclose the information by the SEC. Since the company only reports these facts to investors, fans, and the media after a quarter ends, Tesla generally pushes out a slug of cars in the last month of any given quarter. For example, in December of last year, Tesla delivered 9725 cars. However, the month prior, Tesla only shipped 2,000. This year, Tesla's biggest month was September (the month that ended Q3). Tesla delivered 7,980 cars that month, and just 3,725 the month prior. So, if history repeats itself, the current month should be a whopper for Tesla and may put it over the top for a sales increase.

Projected Tesla Sales Increase For 2017 vs. 2016
If Tesla does have a banner December and ships, say 11,000 cars, Tesla will end the year up a healthy, but still disappointing 10%. If Tesla has an average month, the sales for this year will be flat or below 2016's. In July, Elon Musk tweeted that the Model 3 alone would account for 20,000 cars. In just two weeks we will know the truth.

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