Tesla’s Third Quarter Deliveries Miss Wall Street’s Targets—and Elon Musk’s Loftiest Goals

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Tesla announced today that it delivered 97,000 vehicles in the third quarter, which ended September 30th.

The good news is that it’s an all-time high for the carmaker. The much worse news is that it’s below Wall Street’s latest consensus projection of around 99,000 vehicles. It also falls short of the possible 100,000 deliveries that Tesla CEO Elon Musk floated in an email to employees late last month. It would have been the first time Tesla deliveries in a single quarter reached that threshold, which Musk described as “an incredibly exciting milestone for our company.”

The third-quarter numbers slightly exceed the 95,200 vehicles delivered in the second quarter of this year, showing crucial growth. They’re also well above the 83,500 delivered in the third quarter of last year.

Delivery numbers are just a preview of Tesla’s full third-quarter financial report, which should arrive later this month.

In recent quarters, rising deliveries have not equated to increased profitability for the carmaker, in part because delivery growth has been largely limited to Tesla’s premium sedan, the Model 3. The Model 3 is less profitable than the company’s top-end luxury models, the Model S and Model X, whose sales have declined.

That trend seems to be continuing, with Model S and X making up 17,400 of third quarter deliveries, compared to 17,650 in the second quarter of this year. Model 3 deliveries grew from 77,550 to 79,600.

More deliveries doesn’t necessarily mean Tesla had a killer quarter. And investors have already greeted the delivery numbers with disappointment—Tesla stock is currently down more than 4% in after-hours trading.

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