Last time I wrote an article claiming that production was going to crush guidance, I was dead wrong. So, let's just get that out of the way beforehand, and see if you can approach this two-pronged theory with a somewhat objective mind.
For my thoughts on how Tesla is going to trade in both the short and long-term, I'd direct you to my last article on the company, which you can read here. This article's purpose is solely to address what is seemingly some convincing evidence that Tesla's production is exceeding guidance by about 10%.
For the massive coverage that Tesla (TSLA) gets - even on just this site alone - I'm surprised that this one slipped through the cracks. So much so, that I had to go back and listen, re-listen, and then re-read the transcript to Elon Musk's recent interview on CNBC.com - available at the link here.
ANCHOR: He's made no comments regarding the NHTSA investigation. Remember, the Model-S, at current production, at last report, of 550 vehicles per week, and said a few minutes ago that the production rate coming in at about 600. Here's what he had to say.
MUSK: So we're at around 600 a week, and our projections were about 400 a week. So the main supplier for the battery cells was able to ramp up by 50%, but it's going to take them a little longer to improve production beyond that.
At 600 a week, Tesla would be exceeding the guidance that they had offered by roughly 10%.
So what we have now is this, combined with VIN number guidance earlier this month that also seemed to suggest that Tesla was producing at a higher clip than anticipated. This report notes that VIN numbers seem to support the 4th quarter guidance that the company has laid out. However, as I learned firsthand, sometimes the VIN number data is not the greatest projection of how production is going and certainly shouldn't be a finite indicator.
Lastly, the analyst notes that VIN numbers support 4Q delivery guidance. "During recent visits to Tesla stores in California, we observed vehicles with VINs in the 25,000-26,000 range awaiting delivery to customers. We believe this number is in the right ballpark given 2012 deliveries of 2,650, 2013 deliveries of 15,550 through 3Q, and guidance for 6,000 deliveries in 4Q. This would correspond to roughly 24,200 cumulative Model S sales by YE 2013. Along with TSLA's 550 unit/week production rate exiting 3Q, we are comfortable with TSLA's guidance for around 6,000 Model S deliveries in 4Q."
One of these by itself could possibly be written off as erroneous or inaccurate - but, as we start to hear from different sources that Tesla seems to be ramping production in the fourth quarter, it becomes less and less likely that all of the sources are going to be wrong. Where there's smoke in more than one place, there's usually a fire.
This is speculative, and it's based on circumstantial evidence, but that doesn't discredit the argument's validity. Although we won't know for certain until Tesla officially reports or updates its guidance, I think these two items could serve to show us a little insight into the coming quarter for Tesla. I remain long-term bullish on Tesla, as laid out in my last article.
I love following the story, and wish all Tesla bulls the best of luck.