Tesla Posts Record Deliveries, Beating Expectations

Tesla's Model S. Image credit: Tesla

Tesla posts record electric vehicle deliveries for first quarter, as strong demand for less-expensive models offsets global chip shortage

Tesla has posted record electric vehicle deliveries for its January to March quarter, beating analysts’ estimates in spite of a global shortage of automotive processors.

The company delivered 184,800 vehicles globally for the quarter, well above analysts’ estimates of around 168,000 vehicles, according to FactSet data.

The figure is above Tesla’s previous record quarter of 180,570 delivered in the final quarter of 2020.

The firm began manufacturing the less expensive Model Y crossover utility vehicle in the key China market late last year, adding to production of the less-expensive Model 3 sedans, which already takes place at its Shanghai facility.

Tesla’s Model Y. Image credit: Tesla

‘Strong’ demand

Demand for the two vehicles was “strong”, Tesla said.

“We are encouraged by the strong reception of the Model Y in China and are quickly progressing to full production capacity,” the company stated.

“The new Model S and Model X have also been exceptionally well received … and we are in the early stages of ramping production.”

Tesla’s sales in China jumped in February, in a month that usually sees falling demand due to the Lunar New Year.

The company closed its Fremont, California plant for two days in February due to “parts shortages”. The same plant was also affected by a fire last month.

Tesla's Model 3. Image credit: Tesla
Tesla’s Model 3. Image credit: Tesla

Profit margins

Tesla is currently revamping its higher-end Model S and Model X, and the introduction of the new versions is expected to lead to increased profit margins for the second quarter.

“Specifically for Q1, our volumes will have the benefit of early Model Y ramp in Shanghai,” said chief financial officer Zachary Kirkhorn at the company’s most recent earnings call on 27 January.

“However, S and X production will be low due to the transition to the newly re-architected products.”

On the same call chief executive Elon Musk said the updated Model S would be delivered in February, with the Model X arriving “a little later”.

Tesla delivered 182,780 Model 3s or Ys in the first quarter, up 13 percent from the previous quarter.

The company has become by far the most valuable carmaker in the world by market capitalisation, in spite of production that is far lower than the likes of Toyota, Volkswagen and GM.

Tesla's pricier Model S. Image credit: Tesla
Tesla’s pricier Model S. Image credit: Tesla