Tesla vehicle deliveries rise to record after shutdown in China

Tesla Inc.

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Vehicle deliveries rose sharply in the latest quarter, although the record performance still leaves the company requiring a further increase in the final three months of 2022 to meet annual growth targets.

Tesla said on Sunday it had delivered 343,830 vehicles to customers in the three-month period ending in September, up from about 255,000 in the previous quarter, dented by a temporary shutdown of its factory in China.

Deliveries were up about 42% over last year’s third quarter, when Tesla delivered 241,000 vehicles. Analysts surveyed by FactSet forecast Tesla would deliver about 371,000 vehicles in the third quarter.

Tesla signaled Sunday that the delivery shortfall reflected changes it is making to its processes, which, it said, “led to an increase in cars in transit at the end of the quarter.”

The adjustment, the company said, was necessary because as production volumes grow, vehicle transportation capacity becomes “increasingly challenging to secure” at a reasonable cost during the last few weeks of the quarter, when its shipments typically increase.

Tesla has a long-term goal of increasing production by an average of 50% annually and said in July that was still possible despite production disruptions. To reach that level, Tesla would roughly have to deliver a record 495,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter. Wall Street believes the company will struggle to reach 1.4 million per share. fact set and deliver 457,000 vehicles in the last three months of this year.

Tesla has ramped up production to keep up with rising demand and recover from idling at the Shanghai plant, its largest, due to local Covid-19 restrictions earlier this year. Tesla also had trouble ramping up its new factories in Germany and Texas.

“These factories don’t just magically work,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in August. “So there’s still a lot of work to do.”

To keep up with customer orders, Tesla has increased production capacity across its factories in the US, Europe and China. The company produced 365,923 vehicles in the third quarter, up from about 238,000 in the same period a year earlier.

Tesla’s record deliveries are expected to help the company post its highest quarterly sales ever and a record profit of $3.34 billion when it reports third-quarter results, topping the $3.32 billion profit in the first quarter. Quarterly results are scheduled for Oct. 19, Tesla said.

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Tesla delivered about 325,158 combined Model 3 sedans and Model Y compact sport utility vehicles during the third quarter, up from about 232,000 from the same period a year earlier. The company delivered 18,672 of its luxury Model S sedans and Model X SUVs, up from nearly 9,300 last year.

Tesla on Friday unveiled a prototype of its humanoid robot, called Optimus, which Mr. Musk says it could be available for wider purchase in three to five years and cost less than $20,000. He also detailed plans for Tesla to further expand its advanced driver assistance technology, among other initiatives, at the company’s second AI Day.

Shares in Tesla have fallen about 25% this year with rising inflation and supply chain disruptions weighing on broader investor sentiment. Mr. Musk’s take on social media company Twitter Inc.

also weighed in Tesla’s warehouse. Mr. Musk has sold some Tesla stock to pay for the transaction he is trying to exit.

Mr. Musk previously expressed concern about the global economy, but struck a more optimistic tone at the August shareholder meeting.

“I think inflation will come down quickly,” said Mr. Musk noted that because Tesla has to buy supplies months out, it can see where prices are headed. “What’s interesting that we’re seeing now is that most of our raw materials, most of the things that go into a Tesla — not all, but more than half — the prices are coming down over the course of six months.”

Write to Meghan Bobrowsky at Meghan.Bobrowsky@wsj.com

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