Tesla’s newest model has officially become the best electric car seller in the U.S., surpassing competitors and helping bolster investor confidence in the company.
In its 2018 first quarter report, Tesla Inc. announced that it delivered 8,180 Model 3s, beating out sales of the Chevy Bolt and Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. Altogether, the Silicon Valley automaker produced 34,494 vehicles — a 40 percent increase from the previous quarter and marking the most productive quarter in Tesla’s history.
In the final week of the first quarter, the company produced 2,020 Model 3 vehicles. The numbers weres lower than its stated goal of 2,500 per week. Tesla expressed strong certainty, however, that production will “climb rapidly” throughout the second quarter. Due to this confidence, it is currently not asking for an equity or debt raise this year.
The promising numbers resulted in a boost in Tesla’s stock value, rising six percent on Tuesday and adding relief after a brutal month for the company. The vehicle manufacturer has been plagued recently with sinking stock prices amid several setbacks.
Moody’s demoted he company’s credit rating in march, changing Tesla’s outlook to negative as the young Model 3’s production had dropped. Further, Tesla initiated a voluntary recall of the Model S over “excessive corrosion in the power steering bolts, though only in very cold climates,” affecting over 123,000 vehicles around the globe.
“If Tesla can show consistent growth in volume the market will likely mirror that growth in stock price and overall investor confidence. But tolerance for the brand’s history of missed numbers is likely at an end,” Analyst Karl Brauer said in a statement given to reporters, adding that “scrutiny of the company’s inner-workings has never been higher.”
Since entering the electric vehicle business, Tesla has hit numerous roadblocks with production of its car models, with CEO Elon Musk constantly scaling back previous production goals. The company is far behind schedule in churning out Model 3s, where almost 400,000 prospective buyers have placed $1,000 to get in line for purchase.
The latest uptick in production numbers is the result of Musk seemingly working around-the-clock. He revealed Monday on Twitter that he was sleeping at the plant and referred to the car business as “hell.”
About a year ago, I asked Doug to manage both engineering & production. He agreed that Tesla needed eng & prod better aligned, so we don’t design cars that are crazy hard to build. Right now, tho, better to divide & conquer, so I’m back to sleeping at factory. Car biz is hell …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 2, 2018
Tesla — counting on the increased sales of Model 3s to offset a drop in sales of its Model sport-utility vehicle and Model S sedan — also announced it’s shifting more assembly workers to the Model 3 production.
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