Car Industry

Tesla delivered over 55,000 Model 3s in Q3

Tesla had a strong quarter, cranking out more vehicles in Q3 than it did in the first half of last year. Weekly Model 3 production is still below expectations, however.

James Martin/CNET

Never mind the SEC news, the Tesla Roadster teases and other theatrics, Tesla's success right now is really tied to only one thing: sales of the Model 3. When determining success there, we need to ask two questions. The first is how many can Tesla sell? The second, and more important, is how much money can Tesla make in selling them? We don't have an answer to the latter, but the company did just give us an answer to the former.

In the third quarter of 2018, Tesla produced 53,239 Model 3 sedans, the company announced Tuesday. Looking back to the second quarter of the year, Tesla produced just 53,339 vehicles total. Of those, 28,578 were Model 3s, meaning the company has managed to almost double its rate of Model 3 production. The company delivered 55,840 Model 3s in Q3. 

An impressive jump over the quarter before, yes, but it averages out to just over 4,100 Model 3 sedans produced per week. That's well below the 5,031 cars the company managed to produce in the final week of Q2 and a far cry from the 10,000 weekly the company hoped to hit at some point this year. Tesla did, however, manage 5,300 Model 3s in the final week of Q3.

And how about the other cars? Tesla delivered 14,470 Model S sedans, and 13,190 Model X SUVs. That's a massive bump over the 18,440 combined deliveries from Q2 and an impressive result given a new, stiff 40 percent import tariff for its cars in China. The company still plans to deliver 100,000 of these cars combined in 2018. 

For the answer to the crucial question of profit per car sold, we'll have to wait for the next earnings call. But with prices of the Model 3 Performance pushing $80,000, don't be surprised if the average purchase price sees a bump this quarter.