Can Tesla Sell 100,000 Cars in 2017?

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Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is scheduled to release its fourth-quarter earnings results after the markets close on Wednesday. Analysts are already predicting the company will report a net loss for the quarter, so more are looking at the production numbers that Musk’s company will report. Perhaps one of the most important metrics to look at is how many cars can Tesla sell in 2017.

In the past month, Tesla announced its production for the fourth quarter and in turn the full year. The company produced 24,882 vehicles in fourth quarter, resulting in total 2016 production of 83,922 vehicles. This was an increase of 64% from 2015.

Just looking at this number, 100,000 doesn’t seem to be much of a stretch, considering that in the third quarter, Tesla noted that the Gigafactory construction and Model 3 development both remain on plan to support volume Model 3 production and deliveries in the second half of 2017.

The firm delivered roughly 22,200 vehicles in the fourth quarter, of which 12,700 were Model S and 9,500 were Model X. When added to the rest of the year, total 2016 deliveries were about 76,230. The fourth-quarter delivery count should be viewed as slightly conservative. In addition to fourth-quarter deliveries, about 6,450 vehicles were in transit to customers at the end of the quarter. These will be counted as deliveries in the first quarter of 2017.

Looking ahead to the earnings report, the consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters call for a net loss of $0.43 per share and $2.18 billion in revenue. The same period of last year reportedly had a net loss of $0.87 per share and $1.75 billion in revenue.

A few analysts recently have weighed in on Tesla:

  • Baird reiterated a Buy rating with a $338 price target.
  • Oppenheimer reiterated a Market Perform rating.
  • JPMorgan reiterated an Underweight rating.
  • Morgan Stanley has an Overweight rating with a $305 price target.

Shares of Tesla were trading down 1.4% at $273.43 Wednesday afternoon, with a consensus analyst price target of $248.73 and a 52-week trading range of $167.84 to $287.39.

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