Tesla reports 64 percent surge in vehicle production in 2016

Tesla has reported fourth quarter deliveries that fell short of its own forecasts due to production challenges, but managed to hit its 2016 production target.
Written by Tas Bindi, Contributor

Total production of Tesla vehicles rose 64 percent in 2016 compared to the year prior, though the company missed its delivery target for the final three months, the electric carmaker announced on Tuesday.

Telsa produced 83,922 vehicles in 2016, however production challenges spanning from October to December -- such as the transition to new Autopilot auto-driving hardware -- impacted quarterly deliveries, which in turn sent shares lower in after-market trading.

The company admitted that 2,750 cars missed their shipping cutoff dates in Europe and Asia due to this, while also blaming last-minute transport delays and customers not being able to physically take deliveries as reasons for not meeting its 80,000 delivery target.

Approximately 76,230 vehicles reached customers in 2016, though Tesla said this count should be considered "slightly conservative" because it does not include all vehicles that were paid for in full.

Vehicles weren't included in the delivery count unless the customer received the vehicle and completed all the paperwork.

Despite its fourth quarter hiccup, Tesla claimed that it hit its 2016 production goal and had 6,450 vehicles in transit to customers that will count towards 2017's first quarter delivery total.

Vehicle demand in Q4 2016 was particularly strong, Tesla reported, with net orders for Model S and X at an all-time record and 52 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2015 and 24 percent higher than the third quarter of 2016.

"Tesla vehicle deliveries represent only one measure of the company's financial performance and should not be relied on as an indicator of 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 company said in a statement.

Tesla completed its acquisition of SolarCity in November 2016 as part of its push to become a renewable-energy products company, taking on its $2.89 billion debt load.

In December 2016, Tesla and Panasonic announced they will begin making photovoltaic cells and modules at a $256 million factory in upstate New York.

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