Lately, electric-car maker Tesla (TSLA 1.56%) has gone from a company known for missing important delivery and production targets to one that is easily meeting them. In 2019, for instance, total deliveries rose 50% year over year to nearly 368,000, well within management's initial guidance range for 360,000 to 400,000 vehicles during the year. Furthermore, the company started production at its new factory in China less than a year from breaking ground on it.
Next on deck, as far as Tesla's important targeted milestones go, is the launch of the Model Y. Unveiled last year, the sport utility vehicle was initially slated to come to market in the fall of 2020. But it's reportedly ahead of schedule.
With 2020 well underway, investors should look for an update from management on the Model Y when Tesla reports fourth-quarter earnings after the bell on Jan. 29.
What we know about the Model Y
Tesla has slated the Model Y to be an SUV counterpart to its midsize Model 3 sedan.
In the same way Tesla's Model X SUV is priced slightly higher than its flagship Model S sedan, the Model Y will be priced slightly above the Model 3. Both the Model 3 and the Model Y, with starting prices of about $40,000 and $48,000, respectively, are around half the cost of Model S and X vehicles. Of course, they are still premium vehicles, priced on par with similarly sized vehicles from BMW and Toyota's Lexus.
Initially, Tesla is only selling a long-range-battery version of the Model Y, with a starting price of $48,000. But the automaker will likely introduce a more affordable "standard range plus" version as production of the new vehicle ramps up, just as Tesla did for the Model 3. The company's website says the long-range Model Y will go 300 miles on a single charge. The company also has a dual-motor four-wheel-drive version for $52,000 and a high-performance version for $61,000.
Of course, upgrades are available for the Model Y, such as premium paint jobs, 19-inch wheels, and a seven-seat interior.
Tesla has ambitious expectations for the Model Y. Elon Musk has said he believes the vehicle could eventually outsell the Model 3, which was delivered to nearly 93,000 customers in Q4 alone.
Could Model Y deliveries start soon?
In Tesla's third-quarter update last October, management said it was ahead of schedule with its Model Y production timeline. The company subsequently moved the vehicle's launch date from fall of 2020 to this summer.
Furthermore, Tesla said it was "moving faster than initially planned" on the installation of production equipment for the Model Y, "using learnings and efficiencies gained from our Gigafactory Shanghai factory design." In addition, Tesla said, capital expenditures per unit of capacity for the Model Y are forecast to be about 50% lower than the current Model 3 production system in the United States.
Investors should look for any new details or an updated timeline for the Model Y when Tesla reports earnings on Wednesday.