Tesla Couldn’t Confirm Model S Sales Target for 2012 image

Tesla CEO Elon Musk cannot confirm that the electric-car maker will be able to reach its initial sales target for Model S sedan.

Tesla began manufacturing the Model S sedan in June in Fremont, California and the automaker plans to sell 20,000 units in 2013 and reach a 20% gross margin. In July, Elon Musk said that he is sure that the automaker will be able to deliver 5,000 Model S sedans by the end of this year, but now the company wouldn’t even comment on that goal.

Tesla has planned to become profitable beginning with 2013, relying on its $57,400 Model S, and Model X SUV which will be ready next year. Although the automaker tries to expand as quickly as possible, it is also cautious at avoiding delays and quality problems, that have affected other EV producers, such as Fisker Automotive.

“Should the company not meet the 5,000-unit goal, that will have some negative impact on revenue in the fourth quarter,” said Alan Baum, principal of auto-industry forecaster Baum & Associates in West Bloomfield. “That may not be an immediate concern for Tesla’s customers,” he said.

He also added that the customers that are purchasing the car now will become Tesla’s supporters so it doesn’t really matter whether the company will sell, 5,000, 4,000 or 3,000 units this year. But he advises the automaker to be careful in the near future as the last thing it needs is to disappoint customers.