What happened

Shares of Tesla (TSLA -1.92%) skidded off the road Monday morning, falling as much as 8.8%. As of 11:14 a.m. ET, the stock was still down 8%.

The catalyst that sent the electric vehicle (EV) maker plunging was quarterly vehicle deliveries that fell short of expectations.

So what

In a press release that dropped Sunday, Tesla revealed its third-quarter production and delivery numbers, and while the growth was robust, investors wanted more. 

The company delivered 343,800 vehicles over the past three months, surging past the 255,000 units it shipped in the second quarter, but well below analysts' expectations, which came in at 364,660. Furthermore the company reported production of 365,923, recovering from the pandemic-restricted 258,580 number in the second quarter.

Now what

It's important to take a step back and put these results in context. The shortfall in deliveries was the result of a number of vehicles in transit at the end of the quarter. In its press release, Tesla addressed the issue, saying, "Historically, our delivery volumes have skewed toward the end of each quarter ... [but] as our production volumes continue to grow, it is becoming increasingly challenging to secure vehicle transportation capacity."

Furthermore, during the month of July, Tesla's production facility in Shanghai was shuttered to allow the company to make upgrades to the factory. This no doubt affected the company's overall delivery numbers, even as its China output has since rebounded.

Finally, so far this year, Tesla has produced nearly 930,000 EVs and delivered more than 908,000 -- with nearly all the difference being cars that were out for delivery at the end of the third quarter. Tesla is on track to produce at least 1.3 million vehicles this year, which would represent growth of 39% compared to 2021.

That figure could end up being conservative, as the company is aiming to produce as many as 500,000 cars in the fourth quarter. If Tesla is able to reach that ambitious goal, its production would jump nearly 54% year over year to more than 1.4 million vehicles -- an impressive accomplishment indeed.

For investors focused on the big picture, Tesla stock is a buy.