Sometime between today and Oct. 3, Tesla (TSLA 1.56%) will release its quarterly deliveries. It's the electric car maker's policy to announce its vehicle delivery and production numbers within three days of a quarter's end.
In Tesla's second quarter, the company delivered a record 95,356 vehicles. The surging deliveries importantly helped the company narrow its operating loss and achieve positive free cash flow (cash from operations less capital expenditures). In order to keep realizing the benefits of scaling its business, however, Tesla will need to continue to grow its deliveries in the coming quarters.
Can Tesla's quarterly deliveries rise to a new high in Q3?
Going into Tesla's third quarter, the pressure was mounting for the automaker to achieve strong delivery numbers for the period. Ever since its fourth-quarter update earlier this year, management has been guiding for a total of 360,000 to 400,000 deliveries in 2019 -- a range that represents 45% to 65% year-over-year growth. But Tesla delivered just 158,375 vehicles during the first half of the year. This meant the automaker needed nearly 202,000 deliveries in the second half of the year just to hit the low end of its guidance range.
Fortunately, the company's second-quarter deliveries of more than 95,000 suggested Tesla wasn't too far from the pace it needs to achieve in the second half of 2019 in order to hit its guidance. But there are no guarantees -- especially when Tesla is producing and delivering at volumes far beyond what it has ever done in its history.
While Tesla didn't provide a specific figure for what to expect from its third-quarter deliveries, management did say it expected total deliveries to increase sequentially during the period.
Expect close to 100,000 deliveries
Leading up to Tesla's third-quarter vehicle deliveries announcement, there has been some evidence that the electric-car maker is on track to achieve a new quarterly record for vehicle deliveries.
Namely, CEO Elon Musk told employees last week in a leaked email (via Electrek) that the company was within reach of 100,000 deliveries during the quarter. He said demand was sufficient to achieve deliveries at this volume and that the challenge would be delivery logistics. Hitting 100,000 deliveries during the period will require "rallying" its resources, the CEO said in the email.
A hundred thousand deliveries during the period would also represent 5% sequential growth and a new quarterly record. In addition, it would likely put the company on pace with its target to be profitable in the second half of the year -- an achievement that could help the Street think of the growth stock in a new light.
Stay tuned for an update from Tesla on quarterly production and deliveries sometime between Oct. 1 and Oct. 3.