By Claudia Assis, MarketWatch
Tesla Inc. said late Thursday it delivered 88,400 vehicles in the first quarter, a performance the company called its “best ever” first quarter and a number only a tad below Wall Street expectations.
Tesla /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA +10.78% shares rallied more than 17% in the extended session Thursday after ending the regular trading day down 5.6%.
Analysts surveyed by FactSet on average expected the company to deliver 89,000 vehicles in the first quarter, including 75,700 Model 3 mass-market sedans.
The company said that production of the next vehicle in its lineup, the Model Y compact SUV, started in January and the first vehicles were delivered last month, “Significantly ahead of schedule.”
The Silicon Valley electric-car maker grouped Model 3 and Model Y deliveries at 76,200 vehicles for the quarter, and Model S and Model Y deliveries at 12,200 vehicles. In the past, the company has broken down quarterly deliveries by Model 3, Model S, and Model Y.
Tesla cleared a low bar, RBC Capital analyst Joseph Spak said in a note after the release. Spak had expected first-quarter sales around 86,500 vehicles, he said.
“Overall, we don’t believe this release should change any investor view,” he said. Investors’ focus will shift to the company’s first-quarter earnings, expected for later this month or in early May.
Key items then “will be cash flow and color on when production could start again, as well as indication of what is happening to orders and demand,” Spak said.
Tesla said its Shanghai factory, which had closed for a couple of weeks in January, “continued to achieve record levels of production, despite significant setbacks.”
Tesla kept mum on its 2020 sales goals, either to reiterate them or to adjust them. The company has said it expects to sell half a million cars in 2020. A few analysts have said the company is unlikely to reach that number due to the shutdowns and slashed demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Tesla in early January reported fourth-quarter deliveries that met Wall Street expectations and contributed to the massive share rally that ensued.
Tesla on Feb. 19 hit a record closing high of $917.42; the stock ended Thursday down about 50% from that all-time high.
The company officially shut down its main auto-making factory in Fremont, Calif., keeping only essential operations, last week.
Tesla shares have gained 59% in the past 12 months, versus losses around 12% for the S&P 500 index. /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.05%