Tesla Motors Inc Model X Could Be Delayed Again

Tesla Motors IncĀ (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.

Tesla Motors Inc Model X Could Be Delayed Again

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.