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Tesla delivers 88,400 vehicles in Q1, rising over last year

Emily McCormick
·3-min read

Tesla (TSLA) said Thursday it delivered 88,400 vehicles during the first three months of the year, topping Bloomberg-compiled expectations and last year’s figures but declining against the prior quarter as the global auto industry suffered a demand hit and manufacturing pause as the coronavirus pandemic escalated.

Consensus analysts expected Tesla would deliver about 78,100 vehicles in the first quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The quarter marked the first in which Tesla began delivering its new Model Y cross-over vehicle and ramped production at its recently completed Shanghai Gigafactory.

The results marked a pull-back from the fourth quarter of 2019, when Tesla delivered a record 112,000 vehicles.

They were, however, still an improvement from Tesla’s 63,000 deliveries in the comparable first quarter of last year, a time when the company cited logistics issues in sending vehicles to customers in Europe and China.

Tesla produced 102,672 vehicles in the first quarter, versus 77,100 in the first quarter last year. The company characterized its first-quarter 2020 deliveries and production results as its “best ever first quarter performance,” according to a statement.

Shares of Tesla soared 10.3% to $501.27 each as of 4:17 p.m. ET.

Tesla’s first-quarter delivery report comes after automakers Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), General Motors (GM) and Ford (F) posted steep first-quarter delivery declines over last year, citing coronavirus-related disruptions as customers shirked showrooms to comply with social distancing guidelines. Sales decreases totaled 10.4%, 7% and 12.3%, respectively, for the Big Three U.S. car-makers. Each of the companies halted North American production in mid-March, adding to supply-side constraints.

Likewise, Tesla announced March 19 that it would be temporarily suspending production at its flagship Fremont, California factory starting March 23. It also temporarily halted many of its operations at its New York factory. Production at Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory was briefly put on pause in late January during the height of China’s coronavirus outbreak.

In late January, Tesla said it expected 2020 deliveries would “comfortably exceed 500,000 units,” rising from the about 367,500 units it handed over in 2019. But amid the recent coronavirus disruptions, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said “hitting the 500k+ unit delivery threshold for 2020 is a virtual impossibility.” Ives said he anticipates as many as 425,000 deliveries this year.

Tesla, meanwhile, has assured investors it has a robust enough balance sheet to weather temporary disruptions as a result of the coronavirus. In its March 19 announcement, Tesla said its cash position at the end of the fourth quarter of 2019 was $6.3 billion, before its $2.3 billion common stock offering in mid-February.

“We believe this level of liquidity is sufficient to successfully navigate an extended period of uncertainty,” Tesla said in the statement at the time.

Shares of Tesla were up 15% for the year to date through Wednesday’s close, but have halved since hitting a record closing high of $917.42 in February.

This post is breaking. Check back for updates.

People wearing face masks are seen inside a Tesla showroom at a shopping mall in Wuhan, Hubei province, the epicentre of China's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song
People wearing face masks are seen inside a Tesla showroom at a shopping mall in Wuhan, Hubei province, the epicentre of China's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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