Against all odds, Tesla is still in a position that might allow it to sell more than 500,000 electric cars in 2020.

During the first quarter of 2020, Tesla delivered 88,496 electric cars (in line with preliminary numbers), which is 40% more than a year ago.

It was also the third straight quarter of positive financial results with a symbolic net income of $16 million (GAAP). Let's check the car sales numbers and charts and see whether the previous forecast of "comfortably exceed 500,000 units" in 2020 is still possible.

Tesla Model S/X/3/Y Deliveries (quarterly) – through Q1 2020

Q1 2020 was the best first quarter ever, despite the temporary lockdown - first in China (in the first part of the quarter), and then in the U.S. (since late March).

  • Total: 88,496 (up 40% year-over-year)
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Deliveries by model

  • Model 3/Y: 76,266 (up 50%, new record)
  • Model S/X: 12,230 (up 1%, first growth after five quarters of decline)

In Q1, Tesla managed to start production and customer deliveries of its all-new Model Y in the U.S., significantly ahead of schedule and also at a positive gross margin right from the start, according to the Q1 report.

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Forecast

A few months ago, Tesla was sure that it would be able to "comfortably exceed 500,000 units". The manufacturing capacity installed in Fremont and Shanghai should still allow exceeding 500,000 sales in 2020, but a lot depends on when the lockdown will end in the U.S. It's expected that the Tesla Factory will resume production from early May.

To sell more than 500,000 cars in 2020, the average quarterly sales by the end of the year would have to be above 137,000 - significantly above the all-time record of 112,095. It's challenging, but with the Tesla Gigafactory 3 online and Tesla Model Y launch in the U.S., it seems quite possible.

"It is difficult to predict how quickly vehicle manufacturing and its global supply chain will return to prior levels."

"We have the capacity installed to exceed 500,000 vehicle deliveries this year, despite announced production interruptions. For our US factories, it remains uncertain how quickly we and our suppliers will be able to ramp production after resuming operations. We are coordinating closely with each supplier and associated government."

"We expect that production of both Model Y in Fremont and Model 3 in Shanghai will continue to ramp gradually through Q2. We are continuing to build capacity for Model Y at Gigafactory Berlin and Gigafactory Shanghai and remain on track to start deliveries from both locations in 2021."

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