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Tesla deliveries totaled 76,230 in 2016, slightly short of expectations

Tesla's deliveries for 2016 fell slightly below the company's target for the year, sending shares lower in after-hours trading.

Tesla delivered 76,230 vehicles last year, just slightly below the 80,000 the company had set as its 2016 goal.

The electric carmaker said in a press release issued Tuesday that the numbers "should be viewed as conservative" because Tesla only counts a car as delivered if it is transferred to the customer and all of the paperwork is correct.

As a result, the company said it did not count 2,750 vehicles as fourth quarter deliveries because they were delayed in transport or because the customer was unable to take the delivery. An additional 6,450 vehicles were on their way to customers at year's end — the company will count them at the end of the first quarter of 2017.

The company delivered 22,200 vehicles in the fourth quarter, about 12,700 of which were Model S and 9,500 were Model X. The delivery number is slightly below the 24,500 vehicles Tesla delivered in the third quarter.

Tesla shares recently traded at $212.03, down $4.96, or 2.3 percent.

The company will still have a lot of work to do in 2017 to meet its stated goal of producing 500,000 cars by the end of 2018.

Tesla plans to begin production on a more affordable electric sedan, the Model 3, later this year. There are already around 400,000 reservations for the car.

Some critics have called out Tesla for missing production targets in the past, and have expressed skepticism that the company can ramp up production as quickly as it plans to, especially on its Model 3.

Barclays analyst Brian Johnson, who has an "underweight" rating on the stock, said in a research note issued Tuesday that he sees a "high probability that Tesla will announce a Model 3 delay at some point."

Johnson assumes zero Model 3 deliveries in 2017. He said, "there is high risk of execution missteps, a challenged track record on meeting timelines, cost challenges, and potential impact from an otherwise full plate of initiatives in '17."

Tesla also said demand for its cars is strong, and was especially so last quarter. Net orders for the Model S and X, were 24 percent higher than the record set the previous quarter, and were 52 percent higher than over the fourth quarter of 2015.