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Tesla reports best year ever for deliveries, but falls further behind on Model 3 goals

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Automaker delivers 1,550 of its newest car, continues to dial back production targets

Photo by Tamara Warren / The Verge

It may have been a rough 2017 for Tesla, but the Palo Alto-based automaker can boast about hitting one projection it made last year: more than 100,000 of its vehicles were delivered in the year.

Tesla announced Wednesday it delivered 101,312 Model S and Model X cars in 2017, a 33 percent rise over its 2016 figures. For the fourth quarter, Tesla reported 29,870 cars delivered. The Model S led with 15,200 finding customers, followed by the Model X at 13,120. The Model 3, which only recently started reaching a significant number of customers, tallied 1,550 deliveries in the quarter. Despite that, Tesla reported a 9 percent bump in deliveries over the third quarter and 27 percent jump over the fourth quarter in 2016.

Tesla also said in its news release that 2,425 Model 3s were made in the fourth quarter (793 of those made in the last seven days of the quarter), about ten times as many as were produced in the third quarter at its Fremont, California facility. As expected, Model S and Model X production was down in the quarter to make room for the Model 3. But the company said Wednesday it was going to have a slower-than-planned production ramp up for the Model 3 in the first quarter of 2018, with a goal of producing 2,500 per week in that period, and the ultimate goal of 5,000 per week being pushed to the second quarter. Tesla previously said its original goal of making 10,000 per week of the mainstream long-range electric car had been postponed indefinitely.

“As a result of the significant growth in our production rate, we made as many Model 3s since December 9 as we did in the more than four months of Model 3 production up to that point,” the company said Wednesday. “This is why we were not able to deliver many of these cars during the holiday season, just before the quarter ended.”

The company said Model 3 deliveries to non-employee customers, “are now accelerating rapidly.”

Tesla is expected to release its earnings report for the quarter and for 2017 in the coming weeks, which will give more insight into the company’s vitals and what kind of delivery record it hopes to hit in 2018. While the Model 3 is finally getting into non-employee hands, there are still hundreds of thousands of customers with reservations. And with production targets for that car being relaxed again, they could be waiting even longer.