Tesla stock slides after deliveries disappoint

Wire reports

Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. slipped Tuesday after the electric car company said over the weekend that it delivered fewer vehicles last quarter than expected.

Tesla stock fell 1.2 percent to $213.98 on Tuesday.

The Palo Alto automaker, led by Elon Musk, said its second-quarter deliveries totaled 14,370 vehicles — 9,745 Model S sedans and 4,625 Model X SUVs.

Tesla attributed the disappointing numbers in part to the “extreme production ramp” last quarter. It also said more than 5,000 completed vehicles were still on trucks and ships as the quarter ended, on their way to customers who had ordered them.

The company said previously that it would deliver between 80,000 and 90,000 vehicles this year. To achieve that, it must deliver an average of at least 25,405 vehicles per quarter for the next two quarters.

It’s the second time in a row that the carmaker’s deliveries come in short this year. In the first quarter, Tesla had blamed the shortfall on what it called “hubris” in adding too much new technology that led to part shortages for the Model X.

On Thursday, U.S. regulators began a preliminary investigation into a fatal May crash involving a Model S that had Tesla’s “Autopilot” feature engaged. In a blog post, Tesla said that the crash was the first known fatality in more than 130 million miles of Autopilot driving and that the feature, disabled by default in the cars, requires explicit acknowledgment by drivers who enable it that the system is new technology still in testing. At least 70,000 Tesla vehicles worldwide have the Autopilot feature, and the fatal crash has drawn renewed attention to the debate over what kind of guidelines the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should set regarding semi-autonomous and self-driving cars on U.S. roads.

Tesla is also contending with investor fallout after its $2.86 billion all-stock offer to acquire SolarCity Corp. last month. Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk is SolarCity’s chairman and largest shareholder.

The second-quarter deliveries figure is a preliminary number that may change slightly in August when the Palo Alto, California-based company reports earnings for the period. Tesla counts a vehicle as delivered if it’s transferred to the buyer and all paperwork is correct. The company releases global sales figures quarterly, instead of the monthly country-by-country results typically announced by other automakers.

The Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg News contributed.