Tesla deliveries lackluster in second quarter, but all eyes are on Model 3

Key Points
  • Tesla delivered 47,100 vehicles in the first half of the year.
  • That figure falls within the company's guided range of 47,000 to 50,000.
  • Investors and analysts remain focused on the rollout of the automaker's mass-market car, the Model 3.
Tesla Motors' Model 3 electric cars.
Tesla Motors File Photo | Reuters

With most investors focused on the rollout of its highly anticipated Model 3, Tesla announced lackluster second-quarter sales, due in part to supply issues with 100 kWh battery packs.

"The Q2 Deliveries will be viewed as a negative by investors," said James Albertine, analyst with Consumer Edge Research. "But that story ... can be more than offset by the Model 3 in the second half of the year."

Overall, Tesla delivered just over 22,000 vehicles in the second quarter, bringing its first half deliveries to 47,100, within the company's guidance of between 47,000 and 50,000 vehicles.
What was the problem?

Tesla said it experienced "a severe production shortfall of 100 kWh battery packs, which are made using new technologies on new production lines." The company said it resolved the problem in early June and dramatically increased battery-pack production.

While some may be concerned with Tesla's delivery issues, the focus for most is the rollout of the Model 3. The very first one that will ultimately be sold is scheduled to be built later this week. It will be delivered with 29 others at the end of July.

Elon Musk tweeted a rough guideline for ramping up the Model 3 assembly line.

"Production grows exponentially, so Aug should be 100 cars and Sept above 1500," Musk tweeted. "Looks like we can reach 20,000 Model 3 cars per month in Dec."

That forecast is consistent with Tesla's prior guidance of building 5,000 of the lower-priced electric cars per week, by the end of the year.

Yes, there will likely be cynics and bears who will see the second-quarter production problems with battery packs as just an excuse. Whatever comments they have probably won't change the likelihood of greater price swings for Tesla shares.

"Over the last few months, as Tesla has moved higher, it may not have been as volatile because a lot of people were waiting for the Model 3," said Albertine. "Now that it's almost here, that could change."

Questions? Comments? .