By Dow Jones Business News,
January 14, 2014, 01:15:00 PM EDT
DETROIT--Tesla Motors Inc. ( TSLA ) delivered 6,900 Model S electric sedans in the last three months of the year, 20%
higher than the estimate it gave when it reported its third-quarter earnings in November, said Jerome Guillen, vice
president of sales.
Tesla shares finished up 15.7% at $161.25 after the news.
Speaking at the North American International Auto Show, Mr. Guillen said the company would double the number of sales
and service locations globally in 2014.
"What's in for 2014? Growth, growth and growth," Mr. Guillen said.
Tesla will begin selling its Model S in China in early this year, opening a new avenue of sales, and it has begun
delivering more vehicles to Europe.
Tesla's sales results may please investors who were disappointed in deliveries for the third quarter. Tesla said its
earnings for the fourth quarter would be about the same as the third quarter. Tesla posted a net loss of $38 million in
the third quarter.
Tesla said it is still on target to deliver the first Model X sport-utility vehicle by the end of the year, but the
company didn't give any other updates on the vehicle. Currently, the Model S is its only model.
Diarmuid O'Connell, vice president of development for Tesla, said demand remains strong for the vehicle, but the
company continues to wage battles with franchised auto dealers in different states. Tesla sells its vehicles directly to
consumers, not using franchised dealers, which has drawn attacks from many of the dealer groups around the country.
Mr. O'Connell said Tesla is now fighting new political battles in Ohio and New Jersey, and expects a battle in
Georgia. Last year, Tesla waged fights in Texas, Virginia, North Carolina and New York.
"We have had some success when we have been able to shed some light on the issue," he said. "But dealers in some
states have not changed their point of view" on Tesla's sales system.
Tesla announced a recall last week of charging equipment that could overheat. The problem will be addressed with an
over-the-air software update as well as new charging equipment being sent to owners.
Mr. Guillen said "while (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) may call this a recall, we call this
Elon Musk, the chief executive officer of Tesla, said that the word "recall" was "vestigial" because the process for
making a remedy to its vehicles no longer required people to bring a car to a dealership.
"Effectively it doesn't make sense. I wouldn't characterize this as being at odds with NHTSA in any significant way I
just don't want customers to think that they have to bring it in to get fixed," he said, in an interview on CNBC
Last week, NHTSA administrator David Strickland said a separate investigation into the safety of Teslas that had
struck road debris and caught fire was ongoing. Mr. O'Connell said Tesla has submitted all the information the agency
has requested and is awaiting a response.
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