Tesla Deliveries Hit Record amid Industry Woes

In a year dominated by the chip shortage and other supplier issues in the industry, Tesla has managed to post a record quarter, delivering 241,300 vehicles. The electric automaker’s record results materialized amid some choppy industry seas, eclipsing last quarter’s deliveries that amounted to 201,250 vehicles.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the third quarter’s tally is how it breaks down by model families, if not individual models, whose numbers Tesla does not share. The Model 3 and the Model Y once again made up the lion’s share of deliveries, as in several previous quarters, but the breakdown continues to be as lopsided as in previous quarters, inevitably pointing to some ongoing issues.

The Model 3 and the Model Y accounted for 232,025 of total deliveries in the third quarter, while the Model S and the Model X, collectively, recorded 9275 deliveries. That’s right: the two older and more expensive models, now available solely with the much-debated yoke, accounted for less than 4% of Tesla’s deliveries, with 8941 units produced in this quarter. This is better than the previous quarter’s 1890 delivered Model S and Model X vehicles (with 2340 produced during that time), but the second quarter was still heavily affected by supplier issues, as Tesla indicated. The first quarter of 2021, on the other hand, saw just 2020 deliveries of the two older models, most of which were thought to have been produced in the previous year.

In effect, the automaker has delivered 13,185 Model S and Model X units in the first three quarters of 2021—a number dwarfed by Model 3 and Model Y deliveries.

The good news for Tesla is that it does not need to rely on the Model S and Model X for posting increasingly better delivery quarters at this point, as a small wave of competitors in those very segments are settling in. The bad news, of course, is that supplier and other issues have hampered sales of the two older models in its lineup. Unless those numbers show a significant rebound, one possible industry takeaway could be that the two older models have dropped in demand to a point where they may not worth the assembly line space to keep in production, and should be replaced by all-new architectures or vehicles in entirely different segments.

Speaking of entirely different segments, Tesla did see some setbacks in the third quarter of this year, pushing back the start of Cybertruck production by what is now believed to be a whole year, to late 2022, and similarly pushing back Semi production to next year. The automaker has also pushed the debut of the Roadster back to 2023, amid some industry observers’ doubts about its ultimate usefulness to Tesla’s lineup.

The next major milestones for Tesla through the end of the year will be the launch of Model Y production in Austin, Texas, as well as the start of Model Y production at its Berlin-Brandenburg plant in Germany, which is nearing completion. The Cybertruck, meanwhile, is expected to enter production in Austin in about a year, following a number of other prominent EV truck launches, one of which has just begun a few days ago.


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