Electric car maker Tesla reported on Saturday that it produced more than half a million cars in 2020, a milestone that seemed unattainable just three years ago.
In a press release posted on its website, the company said it had shipped 180,570 cars in the fourth quarter. The total number for 2020 rose to 499,550, a new milestone for the electric car manufacturer.
The sales figures for 2020 correspond to an increase of 36 percent compared to 2019. Tesla’s production of 509,737 vehicles in 2020 increased compared to 2019 by 40 percent.
It’s the latest achievement for a company that excelled in 2020 despite the pandemic. While some automakers saw sales increases in the pandemic, none saw a surge like Tesla.
Even without the sales record, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk had a lot to offer – a buoyant stock, new factories, and a number of profitable quarters.
Analysts had become bullish on Tesla sales for the past few weeks amid signs of strong overseas demand.
“We believe that given the strength we are building in China, as well as a late push in Europe and the US, 190,000 to 200,000 are within reach,” Dan Ives, a Wedbush analyst, wrote a fourth quarter release to the Investors.
The aspiring automaker is likely to face tougher competition in 2021. Ford Motor recently started shipping the Mustang Mach E electric sport utility vehicle to customers. And Rivian, a well-respected auto launch company, will begin selling an electric pickup and an SUV next summer. Several other automakers will join the fight as well.
And Tesla still faces its own challenges. Sales of its most profitable vehicles, the Model S luxury sedan and the Model X SUV, have stalled and remain low. The federal safety supervisory authorities are also investigating chassis defects in these vehicles. The company also faces questions about the quality of its vehicles. And Tesla seemed to be making little headway toward Mr Musk’s ambitious promise to have a million self-driving Teslas by the end of 2020. The company has yet to show the world a car that can drive without a driver.
Still, the company reported profits for the past four quarters. The stock was added to the S&P 500 index, and the stock price ended last year at more than $ 700 after less than $ 100 in late 2019. Investors value Tesla by more than the combined market cap of several major automakers , including Toyota Motor, Volkswagen, General Motors and Ford.
Tesla ramped up production at a factory in China, fueling sales growth in that country, the world’s largest market for conventional and electric cars. The company also began building factories near Berlin and Austin, Texas. Mr Musk plans to manufacture Tesla’s pickup truck and a battery-powered tractor-trailer in Texas and recently said he moved to the state.