* 4th quarter deliveries above company forecast
* Expects to double global sales, service locations this
* Working 'feverishly' on Model X crossover
* NHTSA calls adapter upgrade a recall
(Adds executive comment, closing stock price)
By Deepa Seetharaman and Ben Klayman
DETROIT, Jan 14 Electric car maker Tesla Motors
Inc said on Tuesday deliveries of its Model S sedan in
the fourth quarter blew past what the company had forecast,
sending shares up nearly 16 percent.
Tesla delivered almost 6,900 Model S sedans in the quarter,
20 percent above what the company had forecast, Jerome Guillen,
vice president of global sales and service, said at the Detroit
This year looks to be strong, he added.
"We look forward to 2014 with anticipation," Guillen told a
news conference at the show. "On the sales and service side, of
which I'm responsible, it's reckless growth." He later said that
he misspoke and meant to say "relentless growth."
He said the company this year expects to double its global
sales and service locations, which currently total almost 150
combined. He also said Tesla was working "feverishly" on the
Model X crossover vehicle, which the company previously said
would debut in the second half of 2014.
Analysts said California-based Tesla continues to perform
strongly despite the specter of a safety probe by U.S. safety
regulators related to two road fires of Model S sedans.
"Tesla seems capable of shrugging off news that would hamper
most auto manufacturers. Today the electric car maker reported
its best sales quarter ever," Kelley Blue Book senior analyst
Karl Brauer said. "As the brand begins global deliveries the
potential for further growth remains high."
Diarmuid O'Connell, Tesla's vice president of business
development, said later that the company has no plans to work
with a partner to develop a new family of compact cars, known
internally as Gen III and slated for production in 2017. He said
Chief Executive Elon Musk was committed to developing the cars
"None of our plans have ever assumed help from outside,"
"We are assuming independence; Elon is committed to
independence," he added. "We already have the capacity
internally to engineer the vehicle. There are no plans for
partnership on that project."
Also on Tuesday, U.S. safety regulators classified as a
recall Tesla's move to provide upgraded wall adaptors and
charging software, citing the risk of fire.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said
Tesla is recalling 29,222 Model S electric sedans from model
year 2013 for the fix, according to documents filed online.
"An overheated adapter, cord, or wall receptacle, increases
the risk of burn injury and/or fire," according to the NHTSA
Musk took issue with NHTSA's use of the word "recall."
"Some confusion in media reports today. No Tesla vehicles
are being physically recalled by Tesla," Musk said on Twitter.
"The word 'recall' needs to be recalled," he added.
He pointed out that the software upgrade was done last month
over the air, and the new adaptor was being mailed to owners.
Last Friday, the electric car maker said it was providing
customers with the new adaptor and software upgrade to prevent
overheating of its charging systems.
Tesla never used the words "recall" or "fire" in Friday's
Last week's announcement by Tesla came after a November
garage fire involving a Model S in Irvine, California, which the
Orange County Fire Authority said may have been caused by a
Tesla charging system or by a connection at the electricity
panel on the wall of the garage.
At the time, Tesla disagreed with the fire officials'
findings, contending that the charging electronics were not
related to the fire. In the Friday news release, Tesla said its
goal was to prevent excessive heating of the adapters used to
charge its cars. A variety of factors ranging from corrosion to
inappropriate wiring of electrical outlets can cause
overheating, the company said.
Separately, three road fires in Model S sedans caused
Tesla's stock to fall sharply in October, and NHTSA is
investigating the two that took place in the United States. Last
November, Musk said a recall related to the three road fires was
Tesla shares ended 15.7 percent higher at $161.27 on the
Nasdaq on Tuesday.
(Editing by Matthew Lewis)