Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s Model X crossover has already been delayed several times. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said earlier this month that the company had to postpone its launch by a few months to the third-quarter of 2015. Musk is committed to delivering top-quality vehicles that consumers will love. He pushed back the launch date to increase the validation testing time for Model X.
Stifel cuts 2015 delivery guidance for Tesla
Stifel analyst James Albertine said in a research note that the Model X launch could be delayed once again to the fourth-quarter of 2015. Assuming Q4, 2015 release, Albertine has slashed his Model X delivery guidance for FY2015 from 16,500 units to 2,500 units. The research firm has also lowered its Model S delivery guidance for next year from 57,000 units to 50,000. But Model S estimate reduction was mainly due to “some hair cutting of production” given the disruption related to Model X changeover procedures.
The Palo Alto-based electric vehicle maker is currently testing the Alpha prototype of Model X. The company has started building the Beta prototypes of its crossover. The company’s ability to release Model X on time will depend on several factors such as engineering completion, supplier readiness, and completion of in-house validation testing.
What if Tesla ditches the falcon doors?
Elon Musk has said that the falcon doors pose a few challenges. Earlier this week, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said that if Tesla decides to keep “double-hinged doors,” it risks further delaying the release. If the company decides to ditch the falcon doors at this point, the car will have to undergo substantial re-engineering/redesign to make the transition.
Meanwhile, Stifel has reduced its fourth-quarter EPS guidance from $0.75 to $0.35. For FY2015, the research firm has trimmed its EPS estimate from $4.01 to $3.04. Anyway, initial demand for Model X remains robust. Tesla has already received more than 20,000 orders for its forthcoming crossover. Stifel expects current quarter gross margins (excluding ZEV credits) of 25.5%.
Tesla shares fell 3.05% to $249.85 in pre-market trading Wednesday.