Tesla Reports Record Quarterly Deliveries Amid Chip Scarcity

Even as more established automakers reported slowing sales because of supply constraints, Tesla said Saturday that it achieved a healthy increase in worldwide deliveries of its electric cars in the third quarter.

The company said it delivered 241,300 vehicles in the three-month period, its highest quarterly total so far. It was a 20 percent increase from the second quarter and 73 percent higher than the total in last year’s third quarter.

Tesla does not break out its deliveries by country. Much of its recent growth has been propelled by sales in Europe and China.

On Friday, major automakers including General Motors and Toyota said they had suffered recent U.S. sales declines because of a worldwide shortage of semiconductors as the pandemic’s disruptions have caused factory shutdowns and cargo bottlenecks.

In its brief announcement on Saturday, Tesla hinted that it had not been unscathed by those troubles. “We would like to thank our customers for their patience as we work through global supply chain and logistics challenges,” the company said.

When the company announced its second-quarter earnings in July, its chief executive, Elon Musk, said it had weathered the shortage by switching to chips that were more readily available and writing new instructions to be embedded in the chips — known as firmware. But he also said Tesla had to idle some production for lack of parts.

Tesla said the third-quarter delivery figures, the best proxy for its sales, were an initial count that “should be viewed as slightly conservative.”

The company said it produced 237,823 vehicles in the quarter, of which 228,882 were either the Model 3 or its roomier version, the Model Y. It made 8,941 of its most profitable vehicles, the Model S luxury sedan and Model X sport utility vehicle, only slightly more than half the total in the period a year ago.

Production of the Model S and Model X was halted for a time this year while Tesla prepared its plant in Fremont, Calif., to build updated versions.

Though far outsold by more established companies, Tesla is the most highly valued automaker in the world, with a market capitalization of more than $770 billion. But it faces new competition as electric vehicles go from a niche to the mainstream.

Rivian, an American electric truck maker with more than $10 billion in investments from Amazon, Ford Motor and several Wall Street firms, filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday ahead of an initial public offering.

And Lucid Motors, headed by a former Tesla executive, Peter Rawlinson, has said it will soon start delivering a luxury sedan capable of traveling up to 520 miles on a single charge of its battery pack, about 100 miles farther than the longest-range Tesla model.

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