Why Are Tesla's Earning Reports Becoming So Secretive?

Jan 30, 2015 10:00 AM EST | Jordan Ecarma


When Tesla releases its 2014 earnings next month, the announcement might not hold much real information.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based automaker has been gradually disclosing less data in the past two years and doesn't reveal the number of cars sold in each country, how many vehicle orders it has received or how many Tesla models have been built.

Tesla will release 2014 numbers on Feb. 11 and let financial analysts discuss the data through a conference call, according to Green Car Reports.  

Six months ago, Tesla forecast 2014 deliveries of 33,000 cars, a slight dip from the first projection of 35,000.

CEO Elon Musk, who is also known for heading the commercial space venture SpaceX, doesn't think investors, analysts and journalists can understand Tesla well enough to gauge the company's success based on operating metrics.

"Part of the reason why we don't release the monthly deliveries number is just because it varies quite a lot by region and then the media tends to read all sorts of nonsense into deliveries," Musk said in a third-quarter earnings call, according to a transcript provided to Green Car Reports.

"We'll have like 1,000 cars reach a country one month and none the next month and then people--or like 100 the next month trickle in or something because those were the numbers that were registered in one month versus the next and people say Tesla sales dropped by a factor of 10.

"They assume deliveries are proxy for demand, which is not the case."

Two and a half years after introducing the first Model S, Tesla still doesn't disclose monthly sales in any market. While the automaker revealed reservation numbers following its initial public offering in June 2010 until the end of 2012, Tesla stopped disclosing this metric with the first-quarter earnings report in 2013. 

The company likely won't be profitable until 2020, Musk said at a conference earlier this month. Tesla is betting on its much-touted "gigafactory" in Nevada, which will purportedly cut battery-making costs by a third, and its more affordable Model 3 sedan still in the works.

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