NEW YORK -- Tesla Motors Inc. saw strong orders of the Model S sedan tied to the launch of its new crossover, relieving some concerns that the new model might siphon away sales of the sedan, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said on Friday.
Tesla held an event this week to mark the launch of the long-awaited Model X. The event also buoyed sales and interest in the Model S, Musk said.
"We were worried that maybe there would be some cannibalization of Model S orders," Musk said, speaking during an event in New York held by SolarCity Corp., a solar energy company of which Musk also serves as chairman. “But [people] probably went to the website and saw there’s a one-year wait” for the crossover and ordered the sedan instead.
Tesla said it delivered 11,580 Model S vehicles in the third quarter, meeting its target after Musk handed over the first Model X just before the end of the period.
The total, a preliminary number subject to change when the electric-car maker posts earnings for the quarter, rose 49 percent from a year earlier. Tesla, which provided the figure Friday in a filing, had forecast in August that deliveries for the three months ended Sept. 30 would be about the same as the 11,532 in the second quarter.
Tesla now must accelerate deliveries to meet the low end of its full-year target of at least 50,000 vehicles. The nine-month total of 33,157 means the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company needs to deliver at least 16,843 in the last three months to meet its goal.
The company now has two all-electric vehicles in production: the Model S sedan and the Model X.
The Model X debut initially was planned for 2013, after being revealed as a concept the previous year. Musk has been candid about the challenges of making the Model X with so many complex features, including “falcon-wing” doors that open vertically, independently operable second-row seats and a panoramic front windshield. All were difficult to engineer and are dependent, in part, on several components and suppliers.
On Sept. 29, Musk handed over just six Model Xs to owners. He received the first, venture capitalist and Tesla board member Steve Jurvetson got the second. People familiar with the matter said the fourth went to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
Tesla shares fell less than 1 percent in extended trading after gaining 3.2 percent to $247.57 at the close of trading in New York.
During the event at the Nasdaq, at which SolarCity announced a panel it says is the industry's most efficient, Musk also said construction of Tesla's giant $5 billion battery plant in Nevada, known as the "gigafactory," was "progressing very well" and that he hoped it would begin output in the spring.
"It's pretty hard to hide the progress, it's so giant," Musk said.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.