Tesla Rockets As CEO Musk Says Car Sales Set Record

Tesla Motors‘ (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock jumped 9.5% to 242.77 on the stock market today after falling nearly 6% Monday on an unconfirmed report that the company’s sales have declined.

“Article in @WSJ re Tesla sales is incorrect. September was a record high WW and up 65% year-over-year in North America,” Musk tweeted from his @ElonMusk Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) account very late Monday night. “Also, lease price improvement is due to US Bank deal. It is *not* a discount. Revenue to Tesla is unchanged.”

Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors.

Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors. View Enlarged Image

The Wall Street Journal said on Monday, in a report updated just before the stock market close, that with its Model S sales declining in its home market, Tesla was launching incentives that cut the monthly lease price for the sedan in an attempt to convince potential customers that buying one would be a safe financial bet.

The report heavily cited data from industry data-tracker WardsAuto.

The WSJ’s Detroit bureau chief, John Stoll, who co-authored the article with Mike Ramsey, shot back on Twitter Tuesday that: “On tesla … @elonmusk practicing savvy PR or not reading article. WSJ article doesn’t focus on September sales or WW — US YTD.”

The article had said, citing WardsAuto data, that through September Tesla had sold 10,335 sedans in its home market, down 26% vs. the same period a year earlier. The article further noted that with Tesla aiming to sell 35,000 cars in 2014, it would need to sell about 17,500 in the U.S. and “at its current sales pace, the automaker will miss that target by a wide margin.”

California-based Tesla has a waiting list for its cars. As it tries to ramp up deliveries abroad in newly opened markets such as Europe and China, the company has been making allocation decisions about what geographies should get a batch of vehicles and when.

Discussing China demand, Musk said on Tesla’s fourth-quarter 2013 conference call in February, “It seems unlikely that we’ll be able to satisfy demand in China this year.”

On the same call, he said, “Something we try to do is try to balance customer wait times because, for example, like last quarter, we actually did quite a few European deliveries because customers in Europe have been waiting for a really long time to receive their car. … We’re slowing down U.S. deliveries and trying to make people as happy as possible, given the production constraints.”

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