Tesla Q1 deliveries hold strong as Model 3 and Model Y carry the weight

Tesla said it delivered nearly 185,000 cars in the first quarter of the year.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Tesla Model 3

Solid numbers for Q1.


Tesla on Friday revealed its always-anticipated quarterly production and delivery figures. For the first quarter of this year, the carmaker said it delivered 184,800 vehicles in total.

During the first quarter, Tesla built 180,338 Model 3 sedans and Model Y SUVs. As always, the company lumps the two cars together, so we don't know the specific numbers for individual vehicles. Of the total delivery figure, the electric sedan and SUV made up 182,780 cars. So, yes, the vast majority of deliveries were for Tesla's more "affordable" models.

Tesla stopped production of the Model S and Model X in Q1 as it prepares to introduce refreshed versions of the luxury cars, but it still delivered 2,020 of them combined, according to today's figures. That brings us to the 184,800 total delivery figure. The automaker said it completed installation of new equipment to begin production of the new Model S and Model X. It's in the early stages of ramping up production.

The totals reflect slight increases from 2020 Q4 figures, when Tesla delivered 180,570 cars. The figure wasn't enough to crack 500,000 cars delivered in total for the year, CEO Elon Musk's goal, but in the context of the pandemic, Tesla had a surprisingly strong year. Compared to 2020 Q1 figures, it's a massive increase -- the automaker only delivered 88,000 cars a year ago. The pandemic hit Tesla hard -- like every other automaker -- after it shut down production first in China, and then in the US.

Although these figures reflect global deliveries, a little perspective doesn't hurt. The Chevrolet Bolt EV, a Model 3 rival, only tallied 9,025 deliveries in the US in Q1. Tesla still has the EV market largely locked down, though research shows there are signs of its appeal cracking. The electric car market is still pretty small; Toyota North America sold over 600,000 vehicles in the first quarter, for example.

The company expects another good year for deliveries in 2021 as it continues to scale up production of the Model Y in China, where the SUV's been subject to "strong reception," according to the automaker. We'll also receive Tesla's Q1 earnings report in the weeks to come, as a separate announcement.

Tesla's Model 3 simplifies the EV

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