Tesla sees record deliveries in Q3 with 70 percent sales increase

Even with crticism in the media over Autopilot crashes, Tesla saw a sales boost for its Model S and Model X in the third-quarter with 24,500 vehicles shipped.

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Josh Miller/CNET

Tesla announced Sunday that third-quarter sales rose 70 percent year-over-year, with 24,500 vehicles shipped, compared to 11,603 during the same period last year.

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The sales were a record for Tesla, made up of 15,800 Model S and 8,700 Model X. Total sales during the third-quarter rose 37 percent from Q2 2016 production of 18,345.

Tesla said it expects Q4 deliveries and production to be at or slightly above Q3, despite Q4 being a shorter quarter. Tesla says there's also a "challenge of delivering vehicles in winter weather over holidays," but maintains its guidance of 50,000 vehicles for the second half of 2016.

See also: Tesla fixes 'low risk' remote hijack vulnerability

Tesla CEO Elon Musk called the third quarter "our last chance to show investors that Tesla can be at least slightly positive cash flow and profitable before the Model 3 reaches full production," in a note to employees in August. Tesla is said to be seeking financing to expand.

Tesla said it only counts a car as delivered if it is transferred to the customer and all paperwork is correct. In addition to the reported Q3 deliveries, Tesla said about 5,500 vehicles were in transit to customers won't be counted as deliveries until Q4.

During the quarter, Tesla saw media criticism for several wrecks across the globe where drivers had Autopilot turned on. While Tesla tells customers Autopilot still requires active participation from the driver, the feature that can steer for the driver has been called misleading.

Musk has set the companies sights high with a prediction it will sell 500,000 vehicles by 2018. The automaker plans to release the Model 3 in 2017, a $35,000 all-electric vehicle Tesla hopes will boost its sales considerably.

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