In a pandemic year that’s put some automakers on an austerity budget, Tesla was once again the outlier.
As much of the legacy auto market expected to be down about 15% year over year, Tesla reported on Saturday that it closed 2020 with global deliveries up nearly 36% from 2019.
Not only that, but the company has come surprisingly close to goals it set pre-pandemic. “For full year 2020, vehicle deliveries should comfortably exceed 500,000 units,” the company declared back in January 2020. “Due to ramp up of Model 3 in Shanghai and Model Y in Fremont, production will likely outpace deliveries this year.”
Tesla Model Y
Although Tesla finished the year with 499,550 global deliveries, it made 509,737 vehicles in Q4. That didn’t include any breakdown between Tesla’s two vehicle assembly plants in Fremont, California, and Shanghai, China (where it’s just started Model Y production for China).
The year has already included a roll of surprising results from Tesla, as it managed to deliver more vehicles globally in Q2 versus Q1 amid a pandemic and clashes with local health officials in California over stay-at-home orders.
Earlier in the year, Tesla managed to ramp up deliveries of the Model Y just as the pandemic hit in the U.S. With a centralized delivery system rather than hundreds of franchised dealerships, it quickly established new protocol in a “touchless delivery” method that shook off the paperwork via the Tesla app.
2020 Tesla Model S
In Q3 the automaker set new delivery records, with 139,300 vehicles delivered globally. And from a surge of 180,570 deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2020, a total of 161,650 were Model 3 or Model Y. The Tesla Model S and Model X made up the remaining 16,920 deliveries in Q4.
None of these numbers are localized by market, and we look forward to diving into U.S.-market data once it becomes available.
With Tesla’s factories in Berlin, Germany, and Austin, Texas, both starting in 2021—and production of the Cybertruck due to ramp up—1 million annual sales once the pandemic winds down might not be so far off.