Tesla started 2022 with another resilient performance in the face of severe global supply and logistics challenges, though it still fell short of Wall Street’s most bullish forecasts, according to vehicle delivery figures released on Saturday.
The US electric car producer said it had delivered 310,048 new cars in the first three months of the year, slightly ahead of the number handed to customers in the final quarter of 2021 and nearly 68 per cent up on the opening months of last year.
The company once again bucked the recent trend in which the world’s biggest carmakers report lower sales on supply shortages, with General Motors suffering a 20 per cent year-on-year decline in US sales and Toyota a 14 per cent fall in the first quarter.
“This was an exceptionally difficult quarter due to supply chain interruptions & China zero Covid policy,” Tesla chief executive Elon Musk tweeted on Saturday.
“Outstanding work by Tesla team & key suppliers saved the day.”
Wall Street had been expecting Tesla deliveries of just under 309,000, according to analysts surveyed by Refinitiv, though other assessments put the expectations at 315,000 or more.
The news followed a three-week bounce that has pushed Tesla’s shares up by more than 40 per cent, capped by the news last week that it is planning a second stock split in two years.
Tesla’s Shanghai factory, which took over last year from its original Fremont plant in California to become its largest producer, was closed for the final days of the quarter as the city reacted to spreading Covid-19 cases. Despite that, the 305,407 vehicles produced in the quarter still fell only 400 short of the preceding three months.
Like other carmakers, Tesla has also been faced with tight supplies of chips and other parts, presenting a particular challenge during what has been a period of massive expansion. With its new plant in Berlin beginning production earlier this year and another in Texas due to start shortly, Wall Street is expecting vehicle deliveries to rise more than 50 per cent this year, to 1.5mn.
The booming demand for the company’s Model 3 and Y underpinned its latest sales numbers, accounting for 295,324 of the deliveries.
However, the continued lacklustre sales of its higher priced S and X, along with delays to the launch of its electric pick-up, has led some analysts to warn that the company could become over-reliant on just two models as more consumers consider buying an electric vehicle for the first time.