Tesla 4th-quarter deliveries top expectations, stock surges

by Reuters
Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:16 GMT

(Recasts with Tesla comments from Detroit auto show, stock rise)

DETROIT, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc said on Tuesday deliveries of its Model S sedan in the fourth quarter blew past what the company had forecast, sending shares up 10 percent.

Tesla delivered 6,900 Model S sedans in the quarter, 20 percent above what the company had forecast, Jerome Guillen, the company's vice president of global sales and service, said at the Detroit auto show.

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 alone.

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.

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 announcement.

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 garage.

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 were up 9.9 percent at $153.20 on the Nasdaq in early afternoon on Tuesday. (Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman and Ben Klayman in Detroit; editing by Matthew Lewis)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.