Electric carmaker Tesla has reported that it produced more than half a million cars in 2020, a goal that seemed unreachable just three years ago.
In a news release posted on its website, the company said it had delivered 180,570 cars in the fourth quarter, bringing its total for 2020 to 499,550, a new milestone for the electric carmaker.
The 2020 sales total represents a 36 per cent increase from 2019. And Tesla’s production of 509,737 cars in 2020 was up 40 per cent from 2019.
It is the latest success for a company that excelled in 2020. While some carmakers have seen increases in sales in the pandemic, none has seen as big an increase as Tesla.
Even without the sales record, Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, had plenty to crow about – a buoyant stock, new factories and a string of profitable quarters.
“We believe, given the underlying strength we are picking up in China, as well as a late push in Europe and the US, that 190,000 to 200,000 is well within reach” for the fourth quarter, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a recent note to investors.
The upstart automaker will probably face stiffer competition in 2021. Ford Motor Co. recently began delivering the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV to customers. And Rivian, a well-regarded startup, will begin selling an electric ute and an SUV next summer. Several other automakers will also join the fray.
And Tesla still faces its own challenges. Sales of its most profitable vehicles, the Model S luxury sedan and Model X SUV, have faltered and remain low. Federal safety regulators are looking into suspension failures in those vehicles. And Tesla seemed to make little progress toward Musk’s ambitious promise to have 1 million self-driving Teslas by the end of 2020.
Still, the company reported profits in the last four quarters. Its stock was added to the S&P 500 index, and its stock price ended last year at more than $US700 ($909.80), up from less than $US100 at the end of 2019. Investors value Tesla at more than the combined market capitalisations of several large automakers, including Toyota Motor, Volkswagen, General Motors and Ford.
The New York Times
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