- Tesla will announce how many cars it sold in the first three months of 2021 as soon as Thursday.
- Wall Street estimates range from around 152,000 to 174,000 deliveries, with a consensus of 172,000.
- The semiconductor shortage, redesigned vehicles, and a production pause may have slowed production.
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Tesla is set to release first quarter delivery figures as soon as Thursday, and Wall Street largely expects Elon Musk's automaker to match its strong output from the final stretch of 2020.
Analyst consensus is that Tesla will deliver 173,800 vehicles in the three months ended March 31, though estimates range from 151,000 to 174,000 total.
In the final quarter of 2021, Tesla sold more than 180,000 of its Model S, 3, X, and Y vehicles to customers as it raced to meet a 500,000-unit goal set forth by Musk earlier in the year. The carmaker ultimately delivered 499,550 cars in 2020
Investors expect Tesla will build significantly more cars in 2021. Consensus sits at 831,000 units as the company continues to accelerate production at its existing factories, and add new production lines in Germany and Texas.
But 2021 began with hurdles for Tesla. In January, CFO Zachary Kirkhorn warned of potential first quarter headwinds, including a redesigned Model S sedan and Model X crossover and an ongoing shortage in semiconductors that has hampered global auto production for all of 2021. A two-week break in production at Tesla's Fremont, California, factory may have also impacted deliveries.
However, Kirkhorn said, accelerated production of the Model Y at Tesla's Shanghai plant would be a boon for delivery volumes. The carmaker is building two additional factories - one in Berlin, Germany, and one in Austin, Texas - that are expected to greatly expand its production capacity in 2021 and in years to come.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley project that Tesla's manufacturing capacity will reach 1.3 million units by the end of 2021, 3 million units by 2025, and nearly 5.5 million by 2030.
The deliveries announcement will come at a critical time for Tesla, amid a wider selloff in the EV space and as the electric-car maker looks to prove to investors that it can continue to scale up production worldwide while avoiding some of the quality-control issues that have plagued it in the past.