A late night tweet from Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO on Tuesday pushed shares of the EV maker up by 9%. And it prompted Barclays analyst Brian A. Johnson to change his view on the company’s U.S. sales. Johnson has been saying for months that Tesla’s U.S. growth has plateaued. But Musk tweeted yesterday that the company’s North America sales in September skyrocketed 65% from the previous year, and worldwide sales reached a record high.
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Tesla’s new lease option ‘not a discount’
Tesla CEO’s tweet was in response to a Wall Street Journal article that said, citing data from WardAuto, that the company’s U.S. sales plunged 26% this year through September. He also said that Tesla’s new low-cost lease option was “not a discount.” It was due to a deal with the U.S. Bank. Based on Elon Musk’s tweet, Johnson said in a research note that the Palo Alto-based company will easily beat Q3 guidance. With solid sales in September, full-year delivery guidance of 35,000 looks more achievable.
Barclays said Tesla likely delivered 3274 Model S units in September in North America. The company reportedly delivered 1,200 units in July and just 4,00 units in August due to factory downtime. So, the total North America deliveries during the September quarter should come in at around 4,900 units. That’s way above Barclays’ estimate of 3,700 units.
The better-than-expected performance in September was driven by a catch-up after the factory downtime. Further, data from Elon Musk suggests that the company’s North America sales this year through September were still down 17% from the previous year. Tesla has previously stated that the U.S. deliveries would be low in the first half as the company shifted its focus to Europe and Asia. The company estimates to deliver 35,000 units in FY2014, up from 22,400 units last year.
Tesla will still need a strong uptick in Asia
Assuming 2,200 deliveries in Asia, worldwide Q3 deliveries are expected to be at 8,800 units, well above the company’s guidance of 7,800 units. The delivery upside suggests pro-forma EPS of 25 cents, compared to Barclays’ estimate of 5 cents. Strong sales in the third-quarter would make it easy for Tesla to achieve its target of 35,000 deliveries in 2014. But it will still require a strong uptick in Asia in the fourth quarter.
Tesla shares fell 1.97% to $237.99 at 11:29 AM EDT on Wednesday.