Can Tesla Sell 150,000 Cars This Year?

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Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) has announced that it had sold over 25,000 cars in the first quarter. For the company to be successful, it needs to show that its annual run rate can jump higher than that, particularly among its current model lines. Its much anticipated mass market Model 3 will not be available until the very end of the year.

In the first quarter, the model mix of sales:

Tesla delivered just over 25,000 vehicles in Q1, of which approx 13,450 were Model S and approx 11,550 were Model X. This was a new quarterly record for us and represents a 69% increase over Q1 2016. Our delivery count should be viewed as slightly conservative, as we only count a car as delivered if it is transferred to the customer and all paperwork is correct. Final numbers could vary by up to 0.5%.

The Model S is the Tesla sedan. The Model X is its crossover. Both are expensive. With features buyers can add to the base models, the cars can cost over $100,000.

An annual sales run rate needs to rise to offer evidence that electric cars, or near-electric cars, from major competitors like BMW have not cut into Tesla’s sales growth. The BMW model meant to go head to head with the Model S is the i8. It does have a small gas engine to go along with its electric motor.

Tesla has its work cut out for it, as Wall Street sees the company. Its share price, at $280, is very near its all-time high. That gives it a market value of nearly $45 billion, just short of that of the Ford. It is a tremendous valuation, based to a large extent on a very sharp ramp up in sales.