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Demand for Tesla electric cars surges as stock rises 16 percent

This Tesla recharging station opened earlier this month near the Goodwill store along West Havens Avenue in Mitchell. Six charging spots are at the station, intended for the Tesla Model S electric car. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)

DETROIT (Reuters) — Electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. said on Tuesday deliveries of its Model S sedan in the fourth quarter blew past what the company had forecast, sending shares up nearly 16 percent.

Tesla delivered almost 6,900 Model S sedans in the quarter, 20 percent above what the company had forecast, Jerome Guillen, vice president of global sales and service, said at the Detroit auto show.

This year looks to be strong, he added.

“We look forward to 2014 with anticipation,” Guillen told a news conference at the show. “On the sales and service side, of which I’m responsible, it’s reckless growth.” He later said that he misspoke and meant to say “relentless growth.”

Analysts said California-based Tesla continues to perform strongly despite the specter of a safety probe by U.S. safety regulators related to two road fires of Model S sedans.

“Tesla seems capable of shrugging off news that would hamper most auto manufacturers. Today the electric car maker reported its best sales quarter ever,” Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Karl Brauer said. “As the brand begins global deliveries the potential for further growth remains high.”

Tesla’s charging station in Mitchell is at 1305 W. Havens Ave., tucked between County Fair Food Store and Dairy Queen. There are spots at the station for six vehicles. Elsewhere in South Dakota, the company recently opened charging stations in Murdo and Rapid City.