Major Wall Street analysts expected Tesla to deliver approximately 106,000 vehicles to customers during the fourth quarter, which would have just met the company’s annual delivery goal of between 360,000 and 400,000 vehicles, a 45% to 65% increase from 2018, but Tesla delivered a record breaking 112,000 vehicles globally during the fourth quarter, significantly topping Wall Street estimates and achieving CEO Elon Musk’s year-end sales goal.
The positive report comes as Tesla ramps up production of Model 3 vehicles at its new factory in China. Earlier this week, more than a dozen Tesla employees took delivery of the Model 3. The first public deliveries of Model 3 sedans produced at its Shanghai factory will begin January 7, one year after Tesla began construction on its first factory outside the United States.
Tesla gaped up on opening and surged over 4% in morning trading to $448, a 49% rise rise over the last 12 months.
Tesla said that it has produced “just under 1,000 customer salable cars and have begun deliveries” in China. “We have also demonstrated production run-rate capability of greater than 3,000 units per week, excluding local battery pack production which began in late December,” the company added in its report.
“When you deliver more cars than you produce, you get into your bank more cash than you spent,” said Pierre Ferragu, an analyst with New Street Research. He said that would enable Tesla to continue its expansion, including its manufacturing presence in China, where cars are beginning to roll off a Shanghai assembly line.
The stock last week crossed a milestone price of $420 a share. Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, said in 2018 that he had “funding secured” at that price — a 20 percent premium — to take the company private. The deal turned out to be less solid than Mr. Musk had made it seem, attracting the scrutiny of federal regulators.