Tesla posts third quarterly profit, but shares fall after sales miss analysts estimates image

The all-electric car company slid 12% after reporting quarterly vehicle sales that missed some estimates and lower revenue from regulatory credits while projecting little changed fourth-quarter results.

Tesla plunged to $155 at 7:59 p.m. New York time yesterday after the end of regular trading. The shares have surged more than fivefold this year. Before the announcement, investors had never the less been valuing the company at 294 times its projected earnings.

“People have gotten used to being happily surprised by Tesla so when that doesn’t happen there’s disappointment, ” said Karl Brauer, industry analyst for Kelley Blue Book, an automotive pricing and data company in Irvine, California. “They’re doing fine but some see fine as a letdown given how well they did earlier this year.”

This is because Tesla faces a number of challenges: it’s expanding into Europe and Asia while ramping up factory output, building out its North American retail network and developing its first sport-utility vehicle.

Yesterday they released a statement saying Model S deliveries totaled about 5,500 in the third quarter, slightly below some analysts estimates of around 5,800 cars. Tesla said it plans to deliver “slightly under 6,000” Model S sedans this quarter with an adjusted profit “about consistent” with third-quarter levels.

Excluding some items, Tesla earned 12 cents a share in the third quarter, the company said. That compares with a per-share loss of 92 cents a year earlier.

Also, production of the Model S at Tesla’s Fremont, California, plant is being held back by parts supplies, particularly of lithium-ion battery cells, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, said on a conference call yesterday.

Besides the Model S, now in production and priced from $70,000 to more than $100,000, Tesla plans a Model X electric sport-utility vehicle starting in 2014 and a less expensive sedan by about 2016.

Via Bloomberg