The completed deliveries to customers, which is slightly different from the production figure, fell just short of that same goal as it delivered 499,550 cars. That sales total rounds up to the 500,000 target, though.
The company produced 179,757 cars in the fourth quarter, up 71% from a year earlier, and it delivered 180,570, a 61% jump. While Tesla CEO Elon Musk provided guidance in October that the company would reach the 500,000-car target for the year, Wall Street analysts were expecting the company would miss it by about 9,000 cars, rather than a few hundred.
Hitting that half-million number “is a major feather in the cap for the company and the bulls,” given the hit to consumers’ buying power during the pandemic, wrote analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities. “In a nutshell, Tesla had a high bar to hit for the fourth quarter and impressively exceeded the Street … an eye popping performance to finish the year.”
Other automakers are due to report US sales totals on Tuesday, and global sales totals for 2020 later in the month. But most are expected to report a drop in sales due to the impact of the recession and pandemic.