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Analyzing Tesla’s Disappointing 3Q20 Unit Sales Data

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First and foremost, it was a miss.  That’s why TSLA shares are trading lower today.  The Internet was full yesterday of buffoons screaming about a deliveries number “in the 140s” and Tesla’s report of 139,300 units delivered in the third quarter falls short of that estimate.  The “whisper” estimate for Tesla’s 3Q2020 deliveries was higher—north of 145,000 units—but I won’t dishonor my beloved profession of equity analysis by naming the buffoons who pumped TSLA shares yesterday. 

The reported deliveries figure does imply a 43.3% year-on-year gain in unit sales for Tesla.  That said, Tesla’s own material shows an annual rated capacity of 690,000 units as of the end of the second quarter of 2020.  That implies a quarterly run-rate of 172,500 units of capacity.  

Tesla first divulged its annualized run-rate capacity in its 3Q2019 earnings deck.  Then the company rated that capacity as 440,000 units globally with capacity to produce 350,000 Model 3/Y units and 90,000 S/X units