A SERIES of recalls to fix unwanted electrical gremlins has revealed one of Tesla’s most tightly-held secrets: the number of cars the boutique electric car maker sells here.
Tesla is a member of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, the national group representing a united voice for car brands in Australia when it comes to lobbying government on all things related to new-car sales.
However, it chooses to not provide monthly tallies of its sales, a telling group of numbers provided by just about every other brand on sale in Australia that is compiled by the FCAI and released publicly each month – and giving us a sign of how strong the new-car sales pulse is registering.
But Tesla has recently issued a recall for both the Model S and Model X with build dates running between February and October last year, to repair faulty electric parking brakes in one, and misfiring airbags in the other, which give clues as to how strong its sales here really are.
Information filed with the recall notice, sent to the Australian Government as part of the process car makers have to follow when rolling out a safety fix of a vehicle, show it needs to be applied to 469 Model X SUVs.
That is in addition to an earlier fix that Tesla rolled out for the Model X, built in the same timeframe as the recalled Model S that covered 324 vehicles.
Average those 793 sales out and calculate it over 12 months, and that suggests Tesla’s annual tally – admittedly coming off the back of strong interest in the Model X that was officially launched here in January this year – currently sits at around 1060 cars a year.
If those sales had officially counted towards its tally for 2016, it means Tesla would have outsold fringe mainstream brands including Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroen, Dodge, Haval, Infiniti, Proton and SsangYong.
A Tesla spokesman told Wheels it did not report its sales numbers, and therefore could not assist us with verifying the numbers quoted here.
Tesla built 83,922 vehicles last year, information filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission show. That means Australian deliveries alone would have accounted for almost 1.3 percent of the Californian car maker’s production last year.