Tesla Surges On Strength Of Fourth-Quarter Car Deliveries

On news that the company delivered 6,900 Model S cars in the fourth quarter, Tesla’s shares spiked 15.74 percent in regular trading, and another 3.56 percent in after-hours trading.

The 6,900 delivery figure was around 20 percent more than the company had expected, according to Reuters, indicating that Tesla’s luxury brand has continued to resonate with the wealthy. The company’s vice president of sales, Jerome Guillen, told the media today that Tesla would continue to grow in 2014.

While Tesla has enjoyed ramping orders and a surging stock price, the company has significant headwinds ahead of it. Tesla faces continued legal battles to sell its cars directly to consumers as it currently does in several states. Losing those disputes, or facing an increased number, could slow its momentum.

And as TechCrunch reported today, the company has run into difficulty with its car-charging hardware, spawning a software fix and a remodeled future iteration of the technology. Tesla runs the risk of suffering from a freak accident that could materially harm its brand. So far, however, the company has largely steered free of such controversy.

Tesla stated in a note to investors that its roughly 20 percent beat in deliveries will result in a 20 percent beat in revenue, compared to prior forecasts. The parity between deliveries and revenue indicates that Tesla did not discount its cars in order to beat its prior volume guidance.

Prior to today’s news, analysts had expected Tesla to earn $0.16 per share on revenue of $586 million. At least one of those numbers is likely too small.

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