Frontlist | Tesla sets targets for 2021, major global expansion on the cards
To keep up with the current demand, the company needs to quickly build new factories in Austin, Texas, and Brandenburg, Germany. While they made it look easy in Shanghai, ramping production is difficult and will be one of the most important Tesla topics in 2021.
After delivering a record number of cars in the fourth quarter of 2020, Tesla Inc. sets the stage for a new year with global expansion on its cards. The company said it’s expanding in China and poised to open new factories in Texas and Germany.
On Saturday, the electric-car maker announced it delivered 180,570 vehicles in the last quarter of last year, but fell just 450 vehicles short of the half-million target that Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk had set for the entire year.
The electric-car maker delivered 180,570 vehicles in the last three months of the year, eclipsing its prior all-time high of 139,300 in the third quarter of 2020 while increasing from 367,500 deliveries in 2019.
The CEO, meanwhile, congratulated the team for achieving a major milestone. Also said that in its earliest days he thought the carmaker had only a 10% chance of even surviving.
Tesla has been ramping up the output of its mass-market models to meet rising global demand for battery-powered cars, with 2020’s total jumping 36% from the prior year.
“The good news is Tesla has the formula consumers want,” Gene Munster, managing partner at Loup Ventures, wrote in a note to clients. “The bad news is to keep up with this demand, the company needs to quickly build new factories in Austin, Texas, and Brandenburg, Germany. While they made it look easy in Shanghai, ramping production is difficult and will be one of the most important Tesla topics in 2021.”
The result capped a remarkable year for Musk and his company, which joined the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index on Dec. 21 after posting five consecutive quarters of profit. Tesla’s shares rallied 743% in 2020, giving it a $668.9 billion stock-market capitalization.
Palo Alto, California-based Tesla’s shares rose 1.6% on Dec. 31 to end the year at $705.67.
The quarterly delivery figure is widely seen as a barometer of demand for both Tesla’s vehicles and consumer interest in electric vehicles worldwide. The company said in a statement on Saturday its delivery count should be viewed as slightly conservative and final numbers could vary by up to 0.5% or more.
Tesla had predicted in January 2020 — before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic — it would “comfortably exceed” sales of half a million cars. The company said in October that it still expected to meet that target despite a temporary shutdown of its factories in the spring, and Musk signaled it was well within reach in a internal email sent to employees in December and viewed by Bloomberg.
Analysts also predicted Tesla would meet its sales goal for the year, which further buoyed the company’s shares in the waning days of 2020. The surge occurred despite multiple share offerings.
The company undershot the 181,000-vehicle threshold it needed to clear in the most recent quarter, a 30% jump over the July-September period. The push largely depended on increased output from its Chinese plant and higher output in the U.S. of the newest car in its lineup: the Model Y.
Tesla said Model Y production in Shanghai has begun, with deliveries expected to begin soon.
Source: Live Mint