A look back at how Tesla pulled off such a blockbuster first quarter
Tesla’s delivery report for the first quarter of 2021 made April fools of the skeptics (yes, they’re still out there). The numbers—180,338 vehicles produced and 184,800 delivered—represent a new all-time quarterly record, a 110% year-over-year increase, and a beat of most of the analysts’ forecasts, which were running around 177,000.
Above: A look at Tesla's Model Y (Source: EVANNEX; Photo by Casey Murphy)
The fat figures are the more impressive considering that automakers usually expect a seasonal decline in a first quarter (Tesla showed a tiny increase compared to Q4 2020) and that Tesla, along with other automakers, had to deal with a shortage of semiconductors (the Fremont line was idled for a few days due to “part supply issues”).
“In the first quarter, we produced just over 180,000 vehicles and delivered nearly 185,000 vehicles,” Tesla tells us. “We are encouraged by the strong reception of the Model Y in China and are quickly progressing to full production capacity. The new Model S and Model X have also been exceptionally well received, with the new equipment installed and tested in Q1 and we are in the early stages of ramping production.”
Above: A review of Tesla's first quarter results and discussion surrounding EV momentum in China (YouTube: CNBC Television)
During Q1, Tesla retooled its Model S and Model X production line to gear up for the refreshed versions announced in January. The company didn’t produce any units of Models S and X during the quarter, and delivered just a couple thousand—the last of the previous versions.
The big story is the still-growing demand for Models 3 and Y. Production soared by 10%, and deliveries by 14%, compared to the previous quarter.