Tesla shocks market with Q2 2020 electric car numbers

Tesla has surprised stock-watchers with unexpectedly impressive vehicle deliveries in Q2 2020, despite COVID-19 putting production on hold for at least part of the quarter. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has been an outspoken skeptic regarding the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, had pushed aggressively to reopen the facilities in California, at times finding himself at loggerheads with officials there.

California, so Musk's argument went, was being unduly restrictive as to when employers could reopen facilities. In particular, industry observers pointed out, by virtue of its location the Tesla factory in Fremont was prevented from running while rival automaker facilities elsewhere in the US had been given the green light to begin the lines again.

It led to concerns that Tesla's Q2 2020 numbers might be down significantly, predictions that only became more ominous when other automakers began announcing dreary figures earlier this week. GM saw US sales in Q2 dip by more than a third, while Fiat Chrysler sales plunged 39-percent. Toyota sales fell almost 35-percent in the three month period, while Nissan's US sales almost halved.

Today, though, Tesla surprised many. The automaker produced 82,272 EVs in the Q2 period, it has confirmed, and delivered 90,650 vehicles. Of that, 10,600 vehicles produced were Model S or Model X, the automakers two more expensive versions; production for those cars hit 6,326 in the quarter.

For the Model S and Model Y – which Tesla has bundled together in today's announcement – the automaker produced 75,946 cars and delivered 80,050. The final numbers for deliveries are expected to nudge up slightly, Tesla says, though we'll know for sure when the full financial performance is detailed later this month.

The expectation is that we'll also find out then just how many Model Y specifically were produced. Tesla's new electric crossover will face strong competition from vehicles like the upcoming Ford Mustang Mach-E later this year, and observers have been watching closely to see how smoothly – or otherwise – ramping up Model Y numbers will go. That's an area, Musk has said previously, that Tesla learned from well with the Model 3 ramp, though amid often positive reports about the car from new owners, there have still been complaints of underwhelming quality at the point of handover.

Overall, it's a 5-percent dip in deliveries versus Q2 2019, though in the context of pretty much the rest of the industry it can only really be seen as a win for Musk & Co. Production was, less surprisingly, down 20-percent versus the previous quarter, though even there things are looking buoyant, Tesla promises. "While our main factory in Fremont was shut down for much of the quarter," the automaker explains, "we have successfully ramped production back to prior levels."