Tesla Motors said in a press release on Friday that it delivered 10,030 Model S sedans during the first quarter of this year, setting a new record and beating management’s guidance of 9,500 deliveries. The number is also a 55% year over year increase from the number of cars the EV manufacturer delivered in last year’s first quarter.
Tesla to release quarterly deliveries
Also on Friday, Tesla said it will release the number of vehicle deliveries for each quarter within three days of the end of the quarter. Management decided to do this because often people use “inaccurate sources of information” to estimate how many cars the automaker delivered during a quarter.
Tesla added that by it releases its earnings report for each quarter, there may be a small adjustment “usually well under 1%” either way. This is because the company only counts a vehicle as being delivered if it reaches the end customer and all the necessary paperwork is accurate.
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Tesla’s delivery numbers not the only metric
The company also reminded investors that the number of vehicle deliveries is only one of the metrics used to determine its financial performance. As a result, Tesla said investors shouldn’t rely solely on the number of deliveries it reports because there are other factors to take into consideration.
Some of those metrics include the cost of sales, changes in foreign exchange rates and the mix of “directly leased vehicles.”
Tesla becomes more transparent
Brad Erickson, an analyst for Pacific Crest, pointed out that the release of the quarterly delivery numbers soon after the end of each quarter is good for Tesla and investors because it means the automaker is becoming more transparent. He said the move demonstrates how confident management is in the “sustainability of demand” for the company’s vehicles.
He also sees delivery numbers as being the most important financial metric for Tesla despite management’s attempt to downplay it in Friday’s announcement. Erickson is firmly on the bullish side of the argument for Tesla. He believes the EV manufacturer will be able to sustain demand and said Friday’s announcement “reinforces” this belief. He sees production as the main limitation to upside for the full year guidance of 55,000 vehicles this year.
Direct leases could drive upside for Tesla
In terms of mix, he expects 6.6% of Tesla’s first quarter deliveries to be indirect leases through third parties, which is flat with the previous quarter. If the mix is more heavily shifted toward direct leases, he sees potential upside to Tesla’s earnings report. On the other hand, if the number of indirect leases is greater, he doesn’t think investors will be too disappointed.
Erickson also expects Tesla’s planned announcement on April 30 will involve a home storage battery, as has been suggested by others. The Pacific Crest analyst reiterated his $293 per share price target and Outperform rating on Tesla. As of this writing, shares of Tesla Motors were up 3.73% at $198.13 per share in premarket trading.