Tesla, the world's largest electric vehicle manufacturer, delivered 241,300 cars in the third quarter of this year, almost 20 per cent higher than the previous quarter, setting a company record for the highest number of units delivered in a single year with three months to spare.
The California-based company, headed by billionaire chief executive Elon Musk, beat its previous record of 201,250 cars in the second quarter. It was also almost eight per cent higher than the 223,677 figure cited by analysts in a Bloomberg survey, and 8.7 per cent better than the 221,952 projection it sent out to investors.
Tesla delivered 627,350 cars in the first nine months of 2021, surpassing 2020’s full-year total of 498,920, total figures from the company’s quarterly reports on its website show.
"We would like to thank our customers for their patience as we work through global supply chain and logistics challenges," Tesla said in a statement on its website.
Tesla's performance is widely viewed as a gauge of the health of the EV market amid a pick-up in demand as consumers opt for more environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional gas-guzzlers.
Several governments, including the US and China, have also mandated that a certain percentage, ranging from 20 per cent to 50 per cent, of new car sales be EVs in the next decade.
The Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV crossover cars accounted for 96 per cent of deliveries, or a total of 232,025 units in the third quarter, while the Model S and Model X accounted for 9,275 units, Tesla said.
Total production, at 237,823, was 15.2 per cent better than the 206,421 reported in the previous quarter. Deliveries outnumber production, as Tesla is ramping up shipments of its cars. However, the company is still mired in delays, a situation referenced by Mr Musk in 2018 as “delivery logistics hell”.
While the delivery numbers are strong, Tesla stresses that it should not be an indicator of its overall financial performance.
"Our net income and cash flow results will be announced along with the rest of our financial performance when we announce Q3 earnings," the company said. "Tesla vehicle deliveries represent only one measure ... and should not be relied on as an indicator of quarterly financial results, which depend on a variety of factors."
Tesla is expected to report its third-quarter financial results on October 20. The consensus earnings per share (EPS) forecast for the quarter, based on six analysts' views, is $0.93, according to Zacks Investment Research. The reported EPS for the same quarter last year was $0.27.
The Nasdaq-listed company's share price was little-changed at $774.74 at the close of trading on Friday, and is up about 10 per cent year-to-date. It was added to the S&P 500 index in December last year after recording four consecutive profitable quarters – from July 2019 to June 2020.
Mr Musk, who has pledged to accelerate Tesla's production and profitability, is currently the world's wealthiest person with a net worth of $209 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires' Index.
Tesla's biggest markets are the US and China, although it does not break down deliveries by regions. It currently produces its vehicles in Fremont, California, and Shanghai, while new factories in Berlin and Austin, Texas, are nearing completion.
The company is also currently accepting orders for its Cybertruck, with production slated to begin in 2022.