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Tesla Motors Inc Model X Shipments Bulge, One Question Remains

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Model X

Tesla Motors Inc  has finally started to ship Signature versions of its Model X EV SUV and the first buyers will have the cars show up at their door this weekend. It’s an exciting time for those buyers, and for Tesla Motors, but the world still has a number of questions about the car. One of them shines much more brightly for shareholders than for simple Tesla fans.

Tesla Motors Inc Model X
Model X parked outside Tesla Motors’ Fremont plant.

How many Signature Model X shipments will Tesla Motors be able to get to before the end of 2015? Tesla Motors is going to get at least two units of the car out this weekend and it can be assumed that the firm will deploy its resources, even through to the holidays, to ship as many units as possible before the end of the year.

Tesla Motors surges to Model X goals

There have been reports from all over the country that the Model X is showing up at service centers. The real evidence for the roll out of the car, however, comes from Bonnie Norman. Ms. Norman holds the second booking for the Signature Model X and lives quite near the Tesla factory. That means she’s likely high up on the list to get the car.

 

Early on Friday morning, or late on Thursday night her time, Ms Norman said on Twitter that she would be picking up the Tesla Motors Inc Model X from the Fremont plant this weekend. Ms. Norman is an angel investor and a friend of the firm.

Tesla Motors has not made any official statement about the delivery process, leaving investors in the dark about how many units of the car the firm is delivering. There have been multiple reports, many of them submitted on the Tesla Motors Club Model X sightings thread, that suggest shipments will be widespread in the coming week or two.

It’s possible, and seems likely from some of the reports coming out of the firm’s Fremont plant, that Tesla Motors has built up a little stockpile of Model X units that needed touching up and testing before being sent to Signature buyers. That means that the firm may be able to get a large number of shipments out in a pretty short time.

After the slow and unsteady trickle of shipments of the Model X thus far, it appears as if we might get a bulge into the end of the year. It remains to be seen whether Tesla Motors will be able to follow through on that bulge, and build on it, in the first quarter of 2016. With tens of thousands of units of the Model X on order, the firm has a long way to go before it can accept new buyers and start offering test drives.

The best guess on Model X shipments at this stage comes from Dan Galves of Credit Suisse. He’s an optimist and he’s looking for the firm to ship a couple of hundred Model X SUVs to buyers before the end of the year.

Tesla Motors Inc promises fall behind

The firm originally promised, in its third quarter conference call, that it would be able to ramp up production toward the end of the fourth quarter. That was taken, at the time, to mean that the firm would reach something close to capacity production of around 1,600-1,800 cars per week by the end of the year. It’s almost certain that’s not going to happen.

Tesla Motors Inc launched the Model X to the world on September 29 at an event that seemed more than a little bit rushed. The firm handed out six cars on the stage that night, one of them going to CEO Elon Musk while the others went to people close to the company.

If Tesla Motors is able to ship a couple of hundred units of the car before the end of the year, those unfulfilled, or misinterpreted, promises will likely be forgiven on Wall Street. It all depends on Model S numbers this time around, but the Model X will have to fight its own corner come earnings time.

Model X shipments do matter

Tesla Motors isn’t going to ship enough units of the Model X in the next couple of weeks to really swing its totals for the full year. The firm aims to get 50,000 new Teslas on the road for the entirety of 2015, and there are just about 1,200 Signature Model X bookings inside the United States.

If the firm is really struggling to hit its numbers, the Model X may get it over the line, but Wall Street doesn’t usually judge things in such a black and white fashion.

It won’t be for pure shipment numbers, or earnings, that the Model X will make a splash, however. The disappointing launch of the car lead to a lull in the firm’s stock price. The firm’s shares hit an all time high of $280 earlier this year, but has sunk through the launch of the Model X and the slow roll out of the EV SUV.

Model X shipments matter because they will mean, or at least indicate, that Tesla Motors Inc  has solved the problems that have been plaguing it for the last few months. Elon Musk specifically pointed to the second row of seats in the car as the culprit, but we’ll have to wait and see how the reliability of the Model X matches up in the first few months after release.

Tesla Motors will show off its earnings numbers for the three months through December in the opening weeks of February, but the firm is likely to release a quarterly sales figure in the first week or two of January. It remains to be seen whether that number will include a break down of sales of the Model X and the Model S, or whether we’ll simply get a gross figure of total vehicles moved during the three months.

It’s clear that Wall Street is hungry to find out how many units of the Model X that Tesla motors can move before the end of the year, however, and that number is going to be an important point of speculation going forward. Now that the flood gates have been opened, traders will be looking for continued expansion of Model X shipments. They’ll be hoping that problems, like those that faced the early units of the Model S, don’t crop up this time around.

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