Tesla Deliveries Top 200,000 in Record Quarter on China Demand; Shares Gain

More than 99% of Tesla's record second quarter deliveries were lower priced Model 3 and Model Y sedans.

Tesla Inc.  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report reported stronger-than-expected vehicle deliveries for the second quarter Friday, topping 200,00 for the first time in the company's history, paced by China demand for its mid-priced Model 3 sedan.

Tesla delivered 201,250 new cars over the three months ended in June, the company said in a Friday statement, up more than 122% from last year and 9% higher than the 184,870 reached in the first quarter.

The second quarter total was comprised of 199,360 Model 3 and Model Y sedans,  Tesla said, and just 1,890 of its higher-priced Model S and Model X. 

"Overall, this quarter was an impressive performance from Musk & Co. and now with a strong second half performance should be able to hit ~900k vehicles for the year, which was a major stretch goal to kick off this year,' said Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. "China and Europe had strong months of May/June we believe, which were key this quarter and speak to the Model 3/Y strength seen despite chip headwinds."

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Tesla shares were marked 1.4% higher in early trading Friday following the delivery release to change hands at $687.05 each, a move that would peg its year-to-date decline at around 3.5%.  

Last month, data from the China's Passenger Car Association showing massive gains from last year's pandemic-hit base and a run-rate of around 92,000 deliveries for the three months ending in June.

Upstart EV maker Nio NIO is on pace to deliver between 20,000 and 22,000 cars this quarter, following a 95% surge in April sales, while automaking giant Geely has already launched its lower-priced Zeekr, which is also expected to eat into Tesla's China-based growth.

Tesla's lead over its U.S. rivals is far more impressive -- it sold sold just over 200,000 electric cars in the U.S. in 2020, nearly ten times more than General Motors' GM best (at least to date) EV option, the Chevy Bolt.

However, Ford Motor F pledged to invest at least $30 billion in EVs by 2025, while General Motors GM is reportedly ready to trump that investment by $5 billion. Both U.S. carmakers are aiming to expand battery production and EV model rollouts over the next five years as they chase Tesla's leadership.