Tesla sold 10,300 cars between January and March; sales up 55 percent

Tesla released its quarterly sales results Friday, reporting 10,300 vehicles sold and a 55 percent increase in sales from the first quarter of last year. Most major automakers release monthly sales figures, but Tesla has never done so. 

Ng Han Guan/AP/File
A worker cleans a Tesla Model S sedan before a event to deliver the first set of cars to customers in Beijing.

Tesla Motors started deliveries of its all-electric Roadster more than six years ago.

Since then, the Silicon Valley electric-car maker has released its sales data in various ways at various times, usually only during quarterly earnings reports.

Today, the company announced that it would provide quarterly sales numbers just after each three-month period had closed.

Every major carmaker selling in the U.S. reports monthly sales a day or two after the close of each month, but Tesla has never done so.

The company has consistently refused to release monthly sales figures, and today's announcement doesn't change that. 

CEO Elon Musk has argued that its varying production cycles and small size would lead analysts and media to read too much into monthly fluctuations in delivery numbers.

2015 Tesla Model S P85D Supercharging in Rocklin, California, Feb 2015 But rather than waiting six weeks after the close of a quarter to disclose sales in its financial reports, Tesla is now doing so on the same cycle as other automakers.

It issued a note saying that it would release the quarterly delivery numbers within three days of the close of each quarter.

It hasn't broken out its total first-quarter deliveries--which were 10,030 globally for this January through March--by country or even region.

Green Car Reports asked Tesla to break down the 10,030 total by country; Khobi Brooklyn, the company' director of global communications, declined to do so in her response.

The company's statement, issued an hour ago, follows in its entirety:


This was a new company record for the most cars delivered in a quarter and represents a 55 percent increase over Q1 last year.

Going forward, Tesla will publish the number of new car deliveries within three days of quarter end.  We have decided to take this approach, because inaccurate sources of information are sometimes used by others to project the number of vehicle deliveries.  

There may be small changes to this delivery count (usually well under 1%), as Tesla only counts a delivery if it is transferred to the end customer and all paperwork is correct.

Also, this is only one measure of our financial performance and should not be relied on as an indicator of our quarterly financial results, which depend on a variety of factors, including the cost of sales, foreign exchange movements and mix of directly leased vehicles.

The sales total for Q1-2015 is a good one for Tesla, given that it squeaked into five-figure territory, and would imply annual sales of at least 40,000.

That's a higher total than the 33,000 cars delivered last year.

The Tesla Model X electric crossover utility is still slated to start production before the end of this year.

That could allow the company could achieve its goal of producing 1,000 vehicles a week by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, automotive reporters and industry analysts are likely pleased to have at least this one official figure from the unconventional electric-car company.

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