Tesla Surges After Best First Quarter Delivery Figures on Record as Model Y Launch Boosts Lineup

Tesla's Model Y SUV added heft to its EV lineup this year, helping Elon Musk's clean energy carmaker deliver a record first quarter delivery total of just over 88,000 vehicles.

Tesla Inc.  (TSLA) - Get Report shares surged higher Friday after the clean energy carmaker unveiled record first quarter delivery figures  thanks in part to "significantly faster production of its new Model Y sport utility vehicle.

Tesla said it produced just under 103,000 cars over the three months ending in March, with deliveries pegged at 88,400, the best first quarter total in the company's history. Around 76,200 of the delivery total was linked to Model 3 and Model Y cars, the company said, with around 12,200 attributed to Model S and Model X sedans. The total was largely in-line with Street forecasts, but down around 21% from the overall record of 112,000 recorded over the fourth quarter of last year. 

"Model Y production started in January and deliveries began in March, significantly ahead of schedule," Tesla said in a statement late Thursday. "Additionally, our Shanghai factory continued to achieve record levels of production, despite significant setbacks."  

Tesla shares were marked 11.5% higher in pre-market trading Friday to indicate an opening bell price of $506.85 each. That move, however, would still leave the stock some 40% from its February 19 peak, compared to a 25.4% decline for the S&P 500. 

"We view these results as a clear indication that EV demand had remained strong for Tesla well into the quarter, and that the company is well positioned to satisfy that renewed demand once the COVID-19 pandemic abates," said Canaccord Genuity analyst Jed Dorsheimer. "While the focus for quarterly results will continue to be profitability for Q1 and the  meaningful negative impact expected for Q2, we are highly encouraged by these results and see the company as the clear leader in the EV space."

Tesla also stuck to its guidance of delivering 500,000 cars this year, also with its Freemont, California-based production facility closed until at last May 3 as the state maintains 'stay-at-home' orders aimed at taming the coronavirus outbreak, and some 80% of the U.S. economy under similar lockdown restrictions, those figures seem increasing optimistic. 

"Depending on when Tesla is allowed to reopen in the U.S., and how quickly China can be ramped, we think there is a chance the company could find itself supply-constrained in 2Q, even in a weak demand environment," said JMP Securities analyst Joseph Osha. 

"Our current model shows 85,000 deliveries in 2Q, with that mix reflecting better activity in China and weaker activity in the U.S.," he added. "We believe the company should be able to manufacture roughly the same amount, although that output is skewed toward the China facility."