In current months, Tesla skeptics have argued that the corporate’s progress had stalled. After delivering a record-breaking 83,500 automobiles within the third quarter of 2018, the corporate’s deliveries grew solely modestly within the subsequent few quarters: 97,000 within the third quarter of 2019, for instance, and 90,650 within the second quarter of 2020.

However Tesla’s Q3 2020 numbers, launched Friday morning, put these issues to relaxation. Tesla says it shipped 139,300 automobiles within the third quarter of 2020. That is up 53 p.c from final quarter and up 45 p.c from a 12 months earlier. It is also up 24 p.c from Tesla’s earlier finest quarter—the fourth quarter of 2019.

The quantity barely exceeded the consensus forecast of Wall Avenue analysts, however Tesla’s inventory nonetheless fell about 3 p.c in Friday morning buying and selling.

The bounce in Tesla deliveries presumably displays the opening of Tesla’s new manufacturing unit in Shanghai across the begin of the 12 months. If not for the coronavirus, Tesla may need achieved record-breaking numbers within the first and second quarters. However Tesla needed to briefly shutter the Shanghai manufacturing unit within the first quarter, and the Fremont manufacturing unit was closed from late March by mid Could. So the third quarter was the primary time each factories have been working all through 1 / 4.

Fast progress is vital for Tesla to justify its astronomical inventory worth. Wall Avenue values Tesla at greater than $400 billion—greater than the mixed market values of GM, Ford, Volkswagen, and Toyota. That is even supposing these corporations every make tens of millions of vehicles per 12 months, whereas Tesla delivered solely 367,500 in 2019.

In the beginning of the 12 months, earlier than the extent of the Covid-19 pandemic was recognized, Tesla stated it was aiming to ship 500,000 automobiles this 12 months. To this point this 12 months, Tesla has delivered 318,000 automobiles. Tesla would want to ship greater than 180,000 automobiles within the fourth quarter to hit the goal.

Tesla is laying the groundwork for fast progress over the subsequent two years, with plans to open further factories within the Berlin space and close to Austin, Texas. These factories will assist Tesla’s increasing line of automobiles, together with this 12 months’s new Mannequin Y and the forthcoming Cybertruck, Semi, and new Roadster.

Tesla continues to see lackluster gross sales of its high-end Mannequin S sedan and Mannequin X SUV. Within the third quarter of 2020, Tesla bought solely 15,000 of the expensive automobiles. That is lots lower than the 27,000 S and X automobiles Tesla bought two years earlier. This probably displays the truth that these automobiles have not had a significant refresh since they have been launched in 2012 and 2015, respectively. The newer and cheaper Mannequin 3 and Mannequin Y could also be cannibalizing their gross sales.

Tesla plans to introduce a brand new high-end Mannequin S referred to as the Mannequin S Plaid subsequent 12 months. It’ll begin at $139,900, making it considerably costlier than the present Mannequin S.

This story initially appeared on Ars Technica.

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