Tesla said on Saturday that it delivered 180,570 electric vehicles in the fourth quarter, beating the previous record and Wall Street expectations. The electric car maker produced 179,757 Vehicles in total.
For the year, Tesla delivered 499,550 vehicles in 2020, slightly missing the latest forecast of 500,000 vehicles.
At an annual general meeting earlier this year, CEO Elon Musk announced to shareholders that he expects deliveries to reach an implicit range between 477,750 and 514,500 cars by 2020 despite the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The fourth quarter numbers set a new record for Musk’s auto business, which hit its best-ever level in the third quarter of 2020 with deliveries of 139,300.
According to a consensus among analysts polled by FactSet, Wall Street expects Tesla to report 174,000 vehicle deliveries in the last three months in the fourth quarter. The estimates ranged from 151,000 at the low end to 184,000 at the high end and included projections released between October and mid-December.
In the fourth quarter, Tesla delivered 161,650 Model 3 and Y vehicles and produced 163,660 such vehicles. The automaker also delivered 18,920 S and X models and produced 16,097 of them.
For the year, Tesla shipped 442,511 Model 3 and Y vehicles while 454,932 vehicles were produced. It delivered 57,039 Model S and X vehicles, while 54,805 such vehicles were produced.
In its quarterly reports, Tesla does not split the delivery and production numbers by region. Tesla is also combining delivery numbers for its older Model S and Model X electric cars, as well as newer, more popular Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.
However, Tesla observers can get some understanding of these segments from reports on light vehicle production published by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Automakers are required to report to NHTSA the number of vehicles they have made for sale in the U.S. per quarter. Production numbers refer to the make, model, model year, and powertrain of a particular vehicle that each automaker produces for the US market through the end of each quarter.
According to these reports, analyzed by CNBC, Tesla manufactured 66,175 of its 2020 Model 3 electric sedans and 46,773 of its 2020 Model Y crossover SUVs for the domestic US market alone in the first nine months of 2020.
By the third quarter of the year, Tesla was manufacturing more US models for 2020 than Model 3 for US drivers for 2020. Tesla began producing its crossover SUV for Model Y in large numbers for 2020 in the first quarter of 2020.
According to reports from NHTSA Light Vehicle Production, Tesla only manufactured 119 of its 2020 Ys for sale in the U.S. market in the fourth quarter of 2019 – but 29,216 of its 2020 Ys for customers in the third quarter alone. This equates to 28,071 2020 Model 3 in the first quarter and 22,667 of its 2020 Model 3 in the third quarter for the US market.
(Prior to release, NHTSA hadn’t released U.S. fourth-quarter production numbers for Tesla.)
In the course of 2020, Tesla was able to increase vehicle production and deliveries by ramping up production of the Model Y, successfully operating a new automobile plant in Shanghai and bringing in new suppliers of battery cells (together with its long-term partner Panasonic) to get more out of the high-voltage battery packs doing that powers his electric cars.
Tesla announced on Saturday that production of the Model Y has started in Shanghai and shipments of the Model Y Made In China are expected to begin shortly.
Musk has announced that he plans to increase Tesla’s vehicle sales from around 500,000 in 2020 to 20 million a year over the next decade. Plans for a $ 25,000 electric vehicle, Cybertruck, Semi, and the redesigned Roadster are in the works.
After Tesla’s Model S unveiling brought in higher than expected pre-orders in 2016, Musk said the company plans to produce 500,000 cars a year at the Fremont plant by the end of 2018. He also said Tesla would produce 800,000 to 1 million cars a year in Fremont by 2020, then reiterate the target in 2018 with a slight hedge that it could look closer to 700,000 to 800,000 a year in Fremont. The company has apparently not yet achieved this goal in California.
Looking ahead to 2021, Tesla is building new factories in Austin (Texas) and Brandenburg (Germany) to increase production and sales volumes, among other things. Musk warned shareholders on the company’s latest earnings statement that it could take 12 to 24 months to reach full capacity in new factories once commissioned – significantly slower than what Tesla achieved in Shanghai.
With Tesla facing a larger number of competitors in luxury and lower-cost segments around the world, IHS Markit predicts that EV sales will account for 10.2%, or 9.4 million, of the nearly 92.3 million vehicles expected to be sold worldwide in 2024 .
Correction: Tesla slightly missed its target for annual shipments, with the car company producing 179,757 Total vehicles in the fourth quarter. In an earlier version of this story, the annual target and fourth quarter production numbers were incorrectly stated due to processing errors.