Tesla Delivered 50,000 More Vehicles in Q3 Than in Q2

In the third quarter, Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) delivered 139,300 new vehicles, nearly matching the latest Wall Street expectations for deliveries totaling 140,000. In the second quarter, the company delivered 90,650 vehicles, even when the assembly lines were shut down for 33 days due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Total third-quarter deliveries set a new record, eclipsing the 112,000 deliveries announced in the fourth quarter of last year. The company also noted that new vehicle inventories declined in the third quarter as Tesla was able to improve “delivery efficiency.”

The company breaks out the numbers by Model S/X and Model 3/Y. Tesla delivered 15,220 Model S and Model X vehicles in the third quarter and 124,100 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.

Tesla also produced 145,036 vehicles in the third quarter, compared to production of 102,672 in the first quarter and 82,272 in the second.

Investors, apparently, were looking for that nice, round 140,000 delivery estimate or, even better, 150,000. For the first three-quarters of this year, Tesla has delivered 318,350 vehicles and will need about 182,000 deliveries in the fourth quarter to reach a nice, round 500,000 for the year. Without the slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the half-million deliveries target would have been within easy reach.

Tesla stock traded down about 3.2% early Friday to $433.84, in a 52-week range of $45.61 to $502.49 (split-adjusted). The consensus price target on the stock is $316.29.

Part of the reason for investors’ disappointment with the company’s delivery total is that CEO Elon Musk said last month that Tesla had a “shot” at a new quarterly delivery total. What he may have meant (more than 112,000) likely was heard as “more than 120,000,” roughly around the consensus analyst estimate at the time. The estimate promptly was raised to 140,000 and here we are.

A number above 140,000 would have helped soothe investors’ who were disappointed by the announcements that Tesla made at its Battery Day presentation. As it turns out, however, good news from Tesla is never as good as no news from Tesla.