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Tesla could deliver enough cars for a happy New Year

CEO Elon Musk also says the low-cost Model 3 will be unveiled next March.

Electric-car maker Tesla expects to deliver as many as 52,000 vehicles by the end of the year.
Josh Miller/CNET

If you're on the waiting list for a new Tesla, you may get it sooner than you thought.

Tesla Motors said Tuesday that it plans to build 15,000 to 17,000 of its Model S and Model X electric cars before the end of the year, and deliver 17,000 to 19,000 by then. That puts the company on track for 50,000 to 52,000 deliveries in 2015.

While that total would fall at the low end of a revised forecast Tesla gave in August, it seemed to please investors, who sent shares up 10 percent in after-hours trading.

The stock pop may have cheered the company as it looked for some good news this month. In October, Consumer Reports pulled its recommendation of the Model S, citing reliability issues that only recently came to light in owner-supplied surveys. Since then, Tesla has been hard at work establishing differences between models sold early in the production run and what's coming out of the factory right now.

Tesla said Tuesday that production and delivery of its Model S sedan are on track to hit fourth-quarter goals, but it revealed that problems from a supplier are pinching its production of the Model X sport utility vehicle. As a result, Tesla will start manufacturing seats for that vehicle itself, rather than rely on a third-party supplier. The SUV should be steadily rolling off the production line during the first quarter of 2016, the company said. Tesla also said its Model 3 is "on track" for an unveiling in March 2016.

Fremont, California-based Tesla said that in the third quarter it delivered 11,603 vehicles, including the Model X, exceeding its expectations.

Tesla posted a third-quarter loss, minus some items like foreign exchange rates, of 58 cents per share on $1.24 billion in revenue. On average, analysts polled by Reuters had estimated a loss of 54 cents per share on $1.22 billion in revenue.