Tesla overcame serious supply chain problems and setbacks in China to record robust deliveries of new vehicles in the second quarter, according to figures released on Friday.
The US electric car maker said it delivered 201,250 vehicles in the past three months, above the 195,000 to 200,000 that most Wall Street analysts had been expecting, despite headwinds that included shortages of parts and logistics issues that disrupted its deliveries.
Deliveries jumped 122 per cent from the same period a year before, when the company was forced to close its main car plant in California in the early months of the pandemic. Tesla still came through the worst of the Covid-19 crisis better than most carmakers as demand for its vehicles held up, triggering a spectacular rally that sent its shares up eightfold last year.
The number of vehicles Tesla was able to get into customers’ hands was below the 206,421 the carmaker produced in the quarter, however, pointing to the difficulties it faced in shipping cars to customers.
Production volume jumped 151 per cent from a year before, thanks to the rebound from the pandemic, as well as the scaling up of the company’s Shanghai plant. But production of its Model S and X cars reached only 2,340 as it continued to struggle with a slow ramp-up of new models.
Despite the snapback in vehicle deliveries so far this year, many investors have become warier about the company’s prospects of raising its annual sales towards 1m for the full 12 months. It is due to start scaling up production lines in new plants in Berlin and Texas, even as it continues to face severe challenges.
Elon Musk, chief executive, warned in April that Tesla was suffering serious problems in securing all the parts needed for its vehicles, even resorting at one stage to buying up all the available supply of one particular standard component from electronics stores in the San Francisco area.
“Our teams have done an outstanding job navigating through global supply chain and logistics challenges,” the company said in a brief statement accompanying the figures.
Tesla was also beset by a series of public relations problems in the latest quarter in China, which has become its second most important market. A high-profile demonstration from Tesla owners complaining about their vehicles at the Shanghai auto show brought bad publicity, and local regulators also found faults with its cars.
Since the quarter end, Tesla recalled virtually all the cars it has ever produced in China to fix a problem with its autopilot software, though it was able to do so with an over-the-air software update.
In an apparent attempt to placate authorities in China, Musk enthused on Twitter on the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist party about the advances the country had made in building infrastructure, adding: “I encourage people to visit and see for themselves.”