Tesla just missed its goal of delivering half a million vehicles last year

Tesla just missed its goal of delivering half a million vehicles last year
Elon Musk.Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images
  • Tesla had set a goal of 500,000 deliveries for 2020. On Saturday, it announced it missed the target by 450 vehicles.
  • Some analysts had said the ambitious target could be tough to reach because of a slump in auto sales during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The company reached its production goal for the year, making a total of 509,737 vehicles. It also said production of its mid-size SUV, the Model Y, has begun in Shanghai.

Tesla just missed its goal of delivering 500,000 vehicles last year, the company announced Saturday.

The electric automaker delivered 499,550 vehicles in 2020, 450 shy of CEO Elon Musk's target.

Some analysts had said the ambitious target could be tough to reach because of a slump in auto sales during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Consumers cut back spending on cars during the pandemic and Tesla's sales in the first half of 2020 dropped 15% from the second half of 2019. To reach its 500,000 deliveries goal, the automaker needed to sell about 181,650 vehicles in the final three months of the year - 30% more than the third quarter.

In an earnings call in October, Tesla acknowledged the 500,000 goal had "become more difficult," but said it could reach the target if it produces more Model Y and Shanghai vehicles, as well as make its logistics and delivery more efficient.

Read more: Tesla's stock price surged 740% in 2020. Here's where 5 analysts say the shares are headed next.

The automaker delivered 180,570 electric vehicles in the fourth quarter and produced 179,757 vehicles, it said.
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The company said Saturday that its delivery numbers "should be viewed as slightly conservative" because it only counts a car as delivered if it is transferred to the customer and all paperwork is correct. "Final numbers could vary by up to 0.5% or more" when it announces its fourth quarter earnings, it said.

The company reached its production goal for the year, making a total of 509,737 vehicles. It also said production of its mid-size SUV, the Model Y, has begun in Shanghai.

"So proud of the Tesla team for achieving this major milestone! At the start of Tesla, I thought we had (optimistically) a 10% chance of surviving at all," Musk tweeted Saturday.

Demand from China was a boon to Tesla in 2020, with the automaker selling roughly 22,000 Model 3 vehicles there in November.
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