Tesla delivered almost 6,900 Model S sedans in the quarter, 20
percent above what the company had forecast, Jerome Guillen, vice
president of global sales and service, said at the Detroit auto
This year looks to be strong, he added.
"We look forward to 2014 with anticipation," Guillen told a news
conference at the show. "On the sales and service side, of which I'm
responsible, it's reckless growth." He later said that he misspoke
and meant to say "relentless growth."
He said the company this year expects to double its global sales and
service locations, which currently total almost 150 combined. He
also said Tesla was working "feverishly" on the Model X crossover
vehicle, which the company previously said would debut in the second
half of 2014.
Analysts said California-based Tesla continues to perform strongly
despite the specter of a safety probe by U.S. safety regulators
related to two road fires of Model S sedans.
"Tesla seems capable of shrugging off news that would hamper most
auto manufacturers. Today the electric car maker reported its best
sales quarter ever," Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Karl Brauer
said. "As the brand begins global deliveries the potential for
further growth remains high."
Diarmuid O'Connell, Tesla's vice president of business development,
said later that the company has no plans to work with a partner to
develop a new family of compact cars, known internally as Gen III
and slated for production in 2017. He said
Chief Executive Elon Musk was committed to developing the cars
"None of our plans have ever assumed help from outside," O'Connell
"We are assuming independence; Elon is committed to independence,"
he added. "We already have the capacity internally to engineer the
vehicle. There are no plans for partnership on that project."
Also on Tuesday, U.S. safety regulators classified as a recall
Tesla's move to provide upgraded wall adaptors and charging
software, citing the risk of fire.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tesla is
recalling 29,222 Model S electric sedans from model year 2013 for
the fix, according to documents filed online.
"An overheated adapter, cord, or wall receptacle, increases the risk
of burn injury and/or fire," according to the NHTSA documents.
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Musk took issue with NHTSA's use of the word "recall."
"Some confusion in media reports today. No Tesla vehicles are being
physically recalled by Tesla," Musk said on Twitter.
"The word 'recall' needs to be recalled," he added.
He pointed out that the software upgrade was done last month over
the air, and the new adaptor was being mailed to owners.
Last Friday, the electric car maker said it was providing customers
with the new adaptor and software upgrade to prevent overheating of
its charging systems.
Tesla never used the words "recall" or "fire" in Friday's
Last week's announcement by Tesla came after a November garage fire
involving a Model S in Irvine, California, which the Orange County
Fire Authority said may have been caused by a Tesla charging system
or by a connection at the electricity panel on the wall of the
At the time, Tesla disagreed with the fire officials' findings,
contending that the charging electronics were not related to the
fire. In the Friday news release, Tesla said its goal was to prevent
excessive heating of the adapters used to charge its cars. A variety
of factors ranging from corrosion to inappropriate wiring of
electrical outlets can cause overheating, the company said.
Separately, three road fires in Model S sedans caused Tesla's stock
to fall sharply in October, and NHTSA is investigating the two that
took place in the United States. Last November, Musk said a recall
related to the three road fires was not necessary.
Tesla shares ended 15.7 percent higher at $161.27 on the Nasdaq on
(Editing by Matthew Lewis)
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