On January 2nd, Tesla reported both Q4 and 2020 full year operational performance, once again exceeding Wall Street expectations, but falling just short of total year vehicle delivery performance.

In its announcement the electric auto maker declared that the company produced and delivered in-line with most recent guidance.

During the final quarter, a total of 179,757 vehicles were produced while 180,570 were recorded as delivered.

Tesla supply chain

For the full year, total production was reported as 509,737 vehicles and 499,550 deliveries. As noted in our Supply Chain Matters commentary highlighting the automaker’s Q3 operational performance, all facilities would have to be operating at maximum output. While that may well be doable for the new Shanghai facility, the Fremont California facility had dependence on the rate of COVID-19  virus infection within the local area and across the State of California. The fact that this operational performance was achieved is indeed a testament to Tesla’s employees and supplier network.

CEO Elon Musk had set a bold 2020 operational goal that Tesla would exceed delivery of half a million vehicles in 2020. At the company’s annual stockholder meeting held earlier this year, the forecast was adjusted to a range of 477,750 to 514,500 vehicles. To provide an added incentive, earlier last week, Musk tweeted that all Tesla vehicles delivered during the last three days of the year would receive a three-month complimentary use of the “full self-driving” option, which has a sticker price of $10,000.

The year 2020 was also the first year that included volume operations of the auto maker’s Shanghai production facility, producing mainly Model 3 vehicles. The China facility has just begun to produce the Model Y crossover with deliveries scheduled to commence later this month.

This weekend, in its reporting of Tesla’s operational performance, Business Network CNBC indicated it had tracked U.S. government NHTSA Light Vehicle  Production reports for the first three quarters of this year. According to that data, in the first nine months of this year, Tesla produced 66,175 of the 2020 Model 3 sedan, and 46,773 of the 2020 Model Y crossover SUV for the U.S. domestic market. This would imply that a sizable portion of the “mass produced” electric models are being delivered to export markets.

CNBC further reminded that the original goal for producing 500,000 vehicles at the Fremont California facility was set for 2018, with a goal of 800,000 to one million vehicles originally set for this year. Our litany of Supply Chain Matters commentaries during this period indeed highlight the significant challenges encountered to volume produce the Model 3 family. In November, Musk revealed to his Twitter followers that his company came with a month of bankruptcy when struggling to ramp-up Model 3 high volume production.

As we often remind readers, in addition to operational performance, Tesla’s quarterly and full year financial performance will be a further measure for the company’s stockholders and enthusiastic followers. Tesla’s stock has had a stratosphere rise in the second half of this year.

Turning to the coming year, the open question will be the progress made in the building of two additional production facilities, one in Brandenburg Germany, for European market needs, and the planned second U.S. production facility to be located in Austin, Texas. Musk recently announced that he is changing his primary residence from the State of California to that of Texas. Expectations for both facilities coming online have been tamped and reports currently indicated that the proposed German facility has run into some early environmental site concerns.

With California now raging with COVID-19 infection rates, with more expected to potentially overwhelm healthcare facilities, output goals for the first quarter of 2021 will be challenged.


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