By James O'Toole@jtotooleNovember 6, 2013: 10:04 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
Tesla shares have spent most of 2013 in overdrive. On Tuesday, they hit the skids.
Shares of the electric-car maker fell more than 11% Wednesday following third-quarter results that underwhelmed investors.
Tesla(TSLA) shares have risen more than 400% this year, a pace that's difficult to sustain without consistently wowing Wall Street.
All in all, it wasn't a bad quarter for Tesla. The company's earnings, excluding special charges, came in at $16 million, or 12 cents a share, just ahead of the 11-cent estimate from analysts.
But including those charges, such as stock-based compensation and interest expenses, the company lost $38 million.
Craig Irwin, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said the stock was likely falling due to concerns about Tesla's gross margin, which was 21% when the benefits of California's zero-emission credits are excluded.
"I think it's an overreaction," Irwin said. "Across the board, it was a pretty solid quarter."
The company hopes to raise the margin figure to 25% in the fourth quarter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a call with analysts Tuesday afternoon.
Tesla recorded over 5,500 third-quarter deliveries of its luxury plug-in sedan, the Model S, exceeding its own projection of 5,000 in August. The company raised its overall 2013 delivery target to 21,500, up from a previous estimate of 21,000.
"We really are production-constrained, not demand-constrained," Musk told analysts, saying the biggest impediment to increased production was a limited supply of battery cells. The company recently inked a deal with Panasonic to expand battery production, he added.
"I think we'll see some relief on that constraint next year," Musk said.
The Model S -- the only car Tesla currently sells -- has so far received wide acclaim, winning "Car of the Year" honors in 2012 from both Motor Trend and Automobile Magazine. Consumer Reports said the Model S the best car it had ever tested.