Vehicle ID Numbers Provided By Tesla Customers Suggest Tesla Motors Has Assigned VINs To At Least 13,000 Model S Sedans It Hasn’t Previously Announced As Sold

  @angeloyoung_a.young@ibtimes.com on October 11 2013 6:21 AM
Tesla S 2012 Getty Images
The Model S. Getty Images

[UPDATE: 8:17 a.m. Friday]

A contributor to the Tesla’s Forum page identified as Craig Froehle updated his Model S VIN data. As of Thursday the data suggest there are at least 25,822 Model S VINs, excluding European identification numbers assigned to cars being produced in Telsa's Holland factory. Tesla has said it has sold 12,550 Model S sedans between June 2012, when the car debuted, to June of this year. This leaves 13,272 units that, according to this customer-provided data, have been assigned VINs. Tesla will annouce its third quarter sales figures in the first week of November. 

Original story begins here:

One of the most important items in Tesla Motors’ third quarter earnings due out the week of Nov. 4 will be how many cars it delivered to customers between July and September. There are strong indications from the online community of Teslots -- the Tesla zealots who follow and analyze every development regarding the maker of the Model S luxury electric sedan -- that the company is well on its way to significantly higher sales growth quarter-to-quarter

Any speculation as to the exact number of deliveries by Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) is just that, speculation. If the company itself were to give any indication of auto sales, it would have to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission to do so. Tesla itself says it has delivered 12,550 Model S sedans from the model's debut in June 2012 to June of this year.

But there is news out there that suggests at the very least that the company will amply exceed the 5,150 vehicles it delivered in the second quarter and shatter the goal of selling more than 20,000 units this year.

That number could be closer to 40,000 by the end of the year if VIN information trickling out from the Teslot community is accurate. The VIN, or vehicle identification number, identifies individual automobiles. Like other car companies, Tesla’s VIN includes a sequential serial number at the end. Since the Model S is so new to the market, the serial number can be used to track the number of vehicles the company is making, had made or has sold.

Customers are given VINs after they make an order, and it takes months for the car to be delivered, so while the number doesn’t necessarily indicate how many cars have been sold, it does tell you how many cars are in the works.

So what do we know?

Last month Deutsche Bank cited VIN numbers indicating the company was in line to be meeting a demand at an annualized rate of 30,000 vehicles in this quarter. Tesla began selling cars in Europe and Asia in the third quarter and those sales will definitely help Tesla meet or break analysts production estimates. In Norway, for example, the company sold 616 units in September, making the Model S the No. 1 selling model in that electric-vehicle-friendly country.

But consider the data being compiled quite regularly by a contributor to the company’s Forum page identified as Craig Froehle, someone who has asked Tesla owners to provide their VINs for either cars that have been delivered to them or ones that are in the production process, meaning they could be delivered months from now.

As of Tuesday, the VIN sequence tracked with the help of Tesla customers has reached 25730, meaning 25,730 units since Tesla began production. If you subtract the 12,550 units delivered since the end of the second quarter, the remaining number is 13,180. 

Of course, these numbers include cars currently being produced for delivery in the coming months, including back stock to reduce delivery time and showroom display models. But even if only half of these cars were actually sold in the third quarter, it would still be a significant 27 percent increase from the sales in the second quarter, more than enough to satisfy the expectations by analysts and to cause the Teslots to swoon.

Tesla has yet to announce the date of its quarterly earnings report that will confirm these numbers, but the Nasdaq exchange says the announcement will be made in the first week of November.

Correction: As readers have pointed out, the VIN would be the same on both sides of the Atlantic, and the Tilburg Tesla facility is only an assembly plant, so there wouldn't be additional VINs across the pond. Your reporter humbly bows to the knowledge of these fine readers, from whom he has learned a lot. I've made the corrections above thanks to the feedback below.

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