Slow and steady —
Vehicle production has steadily improved over the course of 2019.
Tesla set new records for both production and delivery of vehicles in the third quarter of 2019, the company announced on Wednesday. Tesla produced 96,155 vehicles and delivered slightly more—97,000.
It’s a modest improvement over the 95,200 cars Tesla delivered in the second quarter. But Wall Street wasn’t impressed by the new figures, with Tesla stock falling about 4% in after-hours trading.
One of the most significant trends in Tesla’s vehicle deliveries this year has been the sharp decline in sales of Tesla’s pricier Model S and Model X models. Tesla enjoyed combined S and X sales of almost 100,000 vehicles in 2018—or nearly 25,000 per quarter.
Then sales of the Model S and X plunged to 12,100 in the first quarter of 2019. This was a painful shift given the higher margins on these vehicles. Tesla delivered 17,650 of the high-end vehicles in the second quarter but then backslid (slightly) to 17,400 in Q3. That’s not going to be good for Tesla’s profit figures, which are expected out later this month.
On the other hand, Tesla continued to enjoy steady growth in Model 3 deliveries. Tesla delivered 79,600 of the more-affordable vehicle in Q3, compared to 77,550 in Q2. That works out to more than 6,000 vehicles per week.
The latest delivery figures mean that Tesla will have to work hard to meet its overall 2019 goal to deliver between 360,000 and 400,000 vehicles for the year. Tesla has delivered 255,200 vehicles so far, so it needs to deliver at least 104,800 vehicles in the final three months of the year to meet the target.
That won’t be easy, but it might be doable. Tesla says that it “achieved record net orders in Q3” and is “entering Q4 with an increase in our order backlog.” Tesla has enjoyed steady growth in production during the year—from 77,1000 in Q1 to 87,000 in Q2 and 96,155 in Q3. Tesla is also poised to begin manufacturing in October at its new facility in Shanghai.
Reuters notes that Tesla is aiming to produce at a rate of 1,000 cars per week from the factory by year’s end. So it’s not hard to imagine Tesla delivering well more than 100,000 vehicles in the year’s final quarter.