Tesla Gets $40 Million in Model X Pre-Orders, Signs Deal with Benz

Tesla Model S

I learned today, courtesy of Automotive News, that

Tesla is among the most-shorted U.S. stocks. Almost 65 percent of its shares available for trading, or float, were sold short as of Jan. 31, the second-highest total in the Russell 1000 Index, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Selling short means you’re betting that the price of the stock will go down, and Tesla has lost a lot of money bringing the Model S sedan (above) to market. But it’s telling the world that 2012 will see income of possibly $600 million, and most will be due to sales of the Model S—up to 5,000 cars.

You never know what to believe with guys like Elon Musk, but he has convinced a lot of people that his Model X, the gullwing SUV we told you about, will be the latest and greatest.

After the February 9 reveal, Tesla got deposits of $5,000 a pop (or $40,000 for the top-line Signature series), representing around 500 SUVs. The top-end version will do 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, beating out the Porsche 911 Carrera.

Model X, doors upMusk must be using musk oil. The Model X debut bumped sales of the Model S by 30 percent! Prices for that car, which has been mostly well reviewed, begin at $57,400 (without the $7,500 federal tax credit). Still, Musk noted that 90 percent of the company’s 2012 revenue is expected to come in the second half of that year, from sales of the Model S.

No wonder people are shorting the stock.

But the company also announced that it has a deal with Mercedes-Benz to make the complete powertrain for a new, as yet unnamed Benz car. Tesla has been making battery packs and chargers for Benz Smart cars and A-Class hatchbacks for some time. And it will provide battery packs for Toyota’s RAV4 EV this year.

Creating this position as a major supplier, albeit on a small scale, has given the company income and some clout as a real player. The skeptics are having their day, but Tesla for some is becoming the carmaker of choice in the luxury EV niche. The response so far has been surprising.

Which car has a better chance of success for Tesla—the Model S sedan or the Model X SUV?

—jgoods

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2 Comments

  1. I don’t think at this point they’ve released anything but a few roadsters, which really isn’t much of a sample to work from. (Chevy likely made more Volts the first year than Tesla will probably produce.) I can think of a plethora of vehicles in the Tesla price range that I’d rather have. Given the energy density needed to achieve Tesla’s claimed performance and range, other makers should be able to make a more reasonable electric car with a 500+ mile range, but don’t seem to be able to do so. That implies a bit of magic going on with Tesla’s claims, but you can be sure that when more get in public hands, especially rich public hands (that can afford lawyers) we’ll see if the movie matches the trailer.

  2. I’m going to go with the Model S sedan. It looks better for one, the price is cheaper and people like the performance output of the car. Both will be great cars because everything Tesla has released has been A1.

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