Tesla has managed to score a record quarter for deliveries in 2021, even with the near absence of the Model S and the Model X. The automaker shared its Q1 results from this year, sketching out a surprise win while facing unique challenges in the U.S. and around the world, now that its Shanghai plant is churning out vehicles for the local and European market.
The Fremont-based automaker produced 180,338 vehicles in the first three months of 2021 and delivered 184,800, beating the previous quarterly record of 180,570 achieved in the fourth quarter last year. The most surprising aspect of these results is that Tesla did so almost without any Model S and Model X vehicles delivered—the two vehicles had received interior and exterior updates in early January but their production had not yet begun. So the Model 3 and the Model Y accounted for 182,780 of the total 184,800 deliveries in the first quarter, while the relatively small number of examples of the Model S and the Model X delivered in this quarter, totaling 2,020 cars, were therefore produced in the previous quarters.
Among other things, these results point to strong demand for the newer and lower-priced Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, rather than the two pricier as well as older offerings. These results also happened in a time during which Tesla was affected by a parts shortage.
“We are encouraged by the strong reception of the Model Y in China and are quickly progressing to full production capacity,” Tesla noted. “The new Model S and Model X have also been exceptionally well received, with the new equipment installed and tested in Q1 and we are in the early stages of ramping production.”
That new equipment in the Model S includes a redesigned interior with a new horizontal infotainment screen, as well as the option of the yoke-style steering that will also be offered in the Model X. The sedan also received a modest exterior update that Tesla showed off weeks ago, as it approaches the decade mark since its debut.
While the overall results for the past two quarters have been positive for Tesla, even with another fire in Fremont, 2021 is the year that Tesla faces significant challenges in the EV segments in which it offers vehicles and in segments in which it does not.
The first major wave of affordable electric crossovers priced less than $50,000 are arriving from several automakers including Volkswagen, Volvo, Hyundai, Chevrolet and Nissan, while Mercedes offers a Model S challenger in the EQS sedan, ahead of several sedans and SUVs in 2022 and thereafter. BMW will also jump into the EV game with a Model 3 competitor badged as the i4 in early 2022.
Tesla’s dominance of multiple EV segments which it has enjoyed for the better part of the last decade could be diluted quite a bit in the next 12 months as a large EV wave hits the market in all parts of the price spectrum.
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