Tesla, the electric car maker led by billionaire Elon Musk, slid the most in more than 21 months after reporting quarterly vehicle sales that missed some estimates and lower revenue from regulatory credits.
The shares plunged 15 % to $151.16 at the close in New York yesterday, the biggest one-day slide since Jan. 13, 2012. Tesla was the worst performer today in the Nasdaq-100 Index. The company also projected little-changed fourth-quarter earnings two days ago.
Before the results, the stock had surged more than fivefold this year, valuing the carmaker at 294 times projected earnings.
“Expectations may have gotten a bit too far ahead of reality,” said Phil Gott, an auto technology analyst for IHS Automotive. “Once Elon Musk proved he could beat the odds, people have grown to expect that will always be the case.”
Model S deliveries totaled about 5,500 in the third quarter, the company said in a statement, while some analysts estimated deliveries in the range of 5,800 units.
The results were “light of our expectations on lower sales beat, development services loss and higher expenses,” according to Johnson of Barclays. “Results with somewhat slower ramp of Tesla S deliveries reinforce our view that Tesla had overshot in the past few months and is more properly valued at $141.”
“We really are production constrained, not demand constrained,” said Musk, 42. “We are working really hard to improve production.”
Meanwhile, Tesla is still going strong, as it unravels its plan to conquer China and Europe and also wants to tackle production issues – for the batteries especially, by building in the US the world’s largest battery production facility. This is on top of the new agreement it has with Panasonic, which sees the Japanese supply Tesla with at least 1.8 billion cells over four years.