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Tesla's Surging Sales: 5 Must-See Metrics

By Daniel Sparks – Oct 5, 2021 at 8:47AM

Key Points

  • Tesla's better-than-expected third-quarter delivery numbers reinforce the electric car maker's growth story.
  • The automaker is making navigating supply constraints look easy -- at least to outsiders.
  • The company is on pace to blow away its full-year guidance for more than 750,000 deliveries.

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A production run rate of 1 million vehicles annually could be just weeks away.

Shares of Tesla (TSLA -1.23%) broke out from market trends on Monday, posting nearly a 1% gain even as the Nasdaq Composite slid more than 2%. The outperformance was fueled by the electric car maker's announcement of record third-quarter deliveries. The more than 240,000 deliveries during the period crushed analysts' average forecast for about 221,000 deliveries. 

The strong quarterly deliveries extend a streak of staggering growth for the automaker. To put the company's momentum into perspective, consider some of these statistics about Tesla's recent vehicle deliveries.

Tesla Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Model Y

Image source: Tesla.

1. 73% year-over-year growth

Tesla's record 241,300 deliveries in the third quarter equates to a year-over-year growth rate of 73% -- and this is impressively on top of 44% growth in the third quarter of 2020. 

2. Strong sequential growth

Sales growth was also robust on a sequential basis. Tesla's third-quarter deliveries were about 40,000 higher than they were in the second quarter. Translating to 20% growth in percentage terms, this is an incredible increase considering that the company is operating in an environment plagued with supply shortages and logistical challenges.

3. Trailing-12-month deliveries have nearly doubled

Zooming out to Tesla's trailing-12-month results, the company has delivered more than 808,000 vehicles during the period, up 87% from about 431,000 deliveries in the trailing 12 months ending in September 2020.

Tesla's trailing-12-month vehicle delivery growth rate has accelerated for five quarters in a row, showing how well the company is executing on its manufacturing and expansion plans.

4. Over 9,000 Model S and X vehicles

After two quarters of extremely low Model S and X deliveries, the company is starting to get the pricier models to customers again. Tesla had paused production earlier this year as it overhauled the two flagship models with upgrades. Combined Model S and X deliveries in Q2 2021 were less than 2,000. But the company has ramped production of the higher-margin vehicles back up. Tesla built a total of 8,941 Model S and X vehicles in Q3 and shipped 9,275.

5. Over 1 million vehicles

In Tesla's second-quarter shareholder letter, the company said it now has installed enough manufacturing equipment at its factories to support production of more than 1 million vehicles annually. With Tesla building 238,000 vehicles during Q3, its production capabilities are nearing its installed capacity.

But Tesla also said in its second-quarter shareholder letter that it is bringing more production capacity online at new factories in Berlin and Texas late this year. So there's still plenty of room for vehicle deliveries to continue rising.

Tesla has said it expects deliveries to average a 50% annualized growth rate for the foreseeable future. Recent manufacturing and sales progress is certainly making this bullish view seem feasible.

Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. His clients may own shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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