Tesla sets delivery record in 2017, but needs to sell even more

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Given these circumstances, those Ss and Xs will be counted as second-quarter deliveries.

"Our delivery count should be viewed as slightly conservative, as we only count a vehicle as delivered if it is transferred to the customer and all paperwork is correct", the company said.

The company has had numerous production delays in the past and a year ago missed its target for vehicle delivery, raising questions over whether it would be able to reach the target of producing half a million cars in 2018.

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Tesla had said production challenges, which started at the end of October and lasted through early December, shifted vehicle production towards the end of the fourth quarter, resulting in delayed deliveries.

Shares of Tesla stock surged to about $292 on Monday - a roughly 5 percent increase - bringing the electric auto company's market capitalization to $47.08 billion.

Ford also announced plans in 2016 to develop autonomous cars, which has been a high priority goal for Musk and Tesla.

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"(Tesla has) had a pattern of missing their targets and the fact that they were able to meet the delivery target this quarter should be warmly received by investors", said CFRA analyst Efraim Levy. The stock has gained more than 37 percent this year.

Its upcoming Model 3 is priced at a moderate $35,000 in the United States, far below the price of its initial Models S and X vehicles. The question, however, is if the company will be able to maintain its momentum as production is expected to ramp up in preparation for the mass-market Model 3.

CEO Elon Musk said recently that the Palo Alto-based company will produce 5,000 cars a week later this year after production begins in July on the new Model 3. Altogether, the number represents a roughly 69% year-on-year increase (over Quarter 1 2016).

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With the Model 3 just a few months away, Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) might have have investors even more excited. "It has usurped BMW as an aspirational auto", said Ben Kallo, energy technology analyst at Robert W Baird. But since the stock has risen quickly, up 38 percent in 2017, their overall exposure to Tesla has grown.

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