Tesla posts strong Q1, delivers more cars than it made

The S3XY fleet
Photo: Tesla|Timothy Artman

While 2020 was a difficult year for many companies, some were able to make the most of it. Tesla is one of them. It posted impressive figures for the year and didn’t appear to be too affected by the pandemic. Although that narrative has changed slightly to start the year, with the company slowing production of its Model 3 and Model Y vehicles due to supply chain issues, Tesla is still well-positioned.

On Friday, the company announced its production data from the first quarter of 2021. Interestingly, it delivered more cars than it sold during the three-month period. That’s impressive considering that Tesla manufactured more than 180,000 vehicles in the quarter.

Rolling On

Last year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk gave his company the goal of delivering 500,000 cars. The electric carmaker narrowly missed that goal but came close enough that it basically counts. It was just 450 vehicles shy of hitting the half a million mark.

Still, that was enough to make 2020 a massive year for the company as it broke record after record. Tesla also managed to stay profitable—something it struggled to do for more than a decade.

Part of that was due to its success in China. The company opened a Gigafactory in Shanghai back in 2019 and has since been churning out electric cars for the Chinese market. In its press release, Tesla says, “We are encouraged by the strong reception of the Model Y in China and are quickly progressing to full production capacity.”

Although the carmaker didn’t offer delivery numbers for its efforts in China, news of a positive reception is good. Late last year, Tesla noted that its Shanghai facility will eventually be able to produce 1.05 million cars per year. If it reaches that capacity and has enough demand to move that many cars Tesla would be in fantastic shape.

Meanwhile, the company broke down its numbers for the U.S. market in its most recent announcement. The separation between the Model 3 and Model Y compared to Tesla’s other vehicles is staggering. In the first quarter, it delivered nearly 183,000 vehicles of those models combined. The Model S and Model X accounted for a total of just 2,020 vehicles by comparison.

Of the vehicles delivered in the first quarter, 180,338 were manufactured in the same frame. However, that number doesn’t include any Model S or Model X units.

More to Come

While it appears that Tesla is off to a hot start this year, the company hasn’t yet announced its financial data from the first quarter. Once that arrives, it will help create a clearer picture of its performance.

Moving forward, Tesla may be fighting an uphill battle. The auto industry is currently feeling the effects of the global semiconductor shortage. Manufacturers like Ford and GM have been forced to put production on hold or slow it drastically due to a lack of components. Given the amount of tech that goes into each Tesla, the electric carmaker could soon be stifled by the global shortage.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out and whether or not Tesla is able to work some magic in order to keep its production numbers up.


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