Turns Out Tesla Model S Production Hit Annual Rate of 20,000 Units Back in December


A Model S Gets Built In Tesla's Fremont Assembly Center

A Model S Gets Built In Tesla’s Fremont Assembly Center

Our timing was a month or so off, according to the latest post on Tesla Motors’ blog.

If you recall, we posted on Tesla Model S production hitting an annual rate of 20,000 units in late January, but in fact it now seems that Tesla hit that mark sometime in December.

Here’s what George Blankenship, Tesla’s vice-president of worldwide sales and ownership experience posted to the Tesla Motors’ blog on February 5:

Tesla Model S on the line.

Tesla Model S on the line.

 “It’s hard to believe it’s already February. We have a lot of exciting things planned for 2013, but I think it’s important that we reflect back for a moment before we jump forward. 2012 was an incredibly active year at Tesla. We started the year with Model S beta cars and ended with the Motor Trend Car of the Year award. We went from zero production in May to a production flow in December capable of delivering 20,000 cars this year. We opened thirteen new stores and completed more than 5,000 test drives in eight weeks during the summer Get Amped tour. We opened our first eight Supercharger locations.”

Is it true that Tesla is ahead of schedule?  All signs point to a “yes,” which means the waiting period for a Model S should now be well under six months.  At the moment, Tesla isn’t willing to reveal how long a line there is for the Model S, but that will all change when the automaker releases its Q4 figures before month’s end.

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9 Comments on "Turns Out Tesla Model S Production Hit Annual Rate of 20,000 Units Back in December"

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Go Tesla!
How many NEW ORDERS are you getting every month. Hopefully the number is around 1666.

Production rates good, but hopefully they’re also having no issues with quality control.

I remember when the Roadster had many, many in waiting because of QC issues; there was even an episode on some show about it, and Elon trying to work through it.

Not trying to be pessimistic though, I do hope everything’s as good as they claim, and we see 20,000 sales to match this production rate in 2013.

The big hitch in Roadster delivery was the transmission. It was amazing
how Elon got through that – Even delivering the first Roadsters to
customers with the 2-speed transmission locked out so only one
gear would work! As we know, Tesla contracted many of the world’s
top transmission firms to find the answer to a 2-speed transmission
with the first gear handling the high torque, high stress launch to 60,
and the top gear handling mid and high range all the way to 120+. Nobody
could crack the code – and eventually all Teslas were called back to
recieve a one-speed gear reduction unit.

The Roadster buyer was passionate about the car – and it’s prospects of
high speed from electricity. They grew with Tesla and in turn all
gained much from the challenges. Model S customers gain from
all these growing pains. I don’t believe there’ll be any such major
challenges in the sedan. What we’re going to see is the small stuff –
– the charge bay door sticking, the software tweaks to add a
crawl forward feature, and the usual carmaker stuff gained from tons
of customer input on all customer satisfaction/expectation issues.

I might be a little pessimistic but I don’t think Tesla can run 20k sustained over 1 or 2 years. Rich people are gobbling up their models right now and most of those sales should dry up within a year or so. Granted it’s a good strategy to roll out the cheapest model last.. as the less than rich can grab up this lower category. You heard it here first: Tesla will see zero growth, and most likely less sales by year two. January 2013 will be the beginning of the end for model S 1.0.
I am also pessimistic on the Leaf sales, I don’t see them getting much past 20k units in the US this year, and then it will be “battery low” for this model in 2014 as well. Good thing the Infiniti will be out by next year!
Now the Volt, I don’t have a guess on b/c I see slipping sales this year as well… and they had better have another model ready for release by Jan 2015 or they will be in trouble too.
It’s a race right now, a race to version 2.0.

They need to take their “success” and deliver more $50K models. Their incentive with the top-end models is to come to the point of 25% margin, which has been stated before. But they need to sustain through the middle-class buyers. I guess they could send more and more Model-S overseas for rich buyers there too but they have to come down in price eventually.

I see a lot of $60k cars on the road everyday.. granted most of them are leased but still the market is huge. Elon needs to buy a bank again and start offering leases, then he can really make some money..

I think you are right about dopping sales at the end of the year, but then there will be Model X and then the Blue Star. Plus more and more people will see how cheap it is to run these cars with the supercharger-network. Only danger is BMW conquering the middle-class first with i3, i8 next year and after that maybe i5…

Well, in _the USA alone_ there are one million new luxury and performance car sales per year. Tesla’s target is 20,000 per year _worldwide_. Now, those luxury car sales are obviously not all in the Model S 85kWh price range, but they also don’t have the combination of performance and low running costs that the Model S has. The way I see it, as long as they’re seen to be sustaining build quality and progressing on keys like the delivery system and the utility of the supercharger network they’ll increase market confidence and keep selling.

As for the Leaf, the new EPA numbers are not confirmed yet but the estimated boost is large and the key I see will be the real-world performance of the new heat pump. If it gives as big a boost to cold-weather performance as expected they’ll significantly increase their market reach. Unfortunately, with the timing of the new model release that benefit might not be seen until the end of 2013 when temperatures drop again, which could allow 6 months of journalistic bashing.

Oh, note that he wrote about “production flow” in December. That means input to output was capable of 400 per week, but it doesn’t mean they hit that number at that point.