Tesla sales soared in the first quarter, once again bucking the industry trend

Tesla, the world’s leading electric car company, on Saturday reported a sharp rise in global sales for the first three months of the year as it overcome supply chain issues and converge on production levels comparable to established luxury automakers like BMW and Mercedes . Benz.

Tesla said it delivered 310,000 vehicles from January through March, up from 185,000 cars for the same period in 2021, roughly in line with Wall Street expectations. The nearly 70 percent increase contrasted with big automakers like General Motors and Toyota, which reported large sales declines on Friday due to shortages of key components.

The first-quarter surge builds on Tesla’s momentum from last year, when it nearly doubled sales to nearly 1 million cars, overtaking Volvo and Subaru. Tesla managed an industry-wide shortage of computer chips better because its mastery of software allowed it to replace available chips with scarce ones.

The first-quarter sales are “a positive step in the right direction for the next step in Tesla growth,” Wedbush Securities’ Daniel Ives and John Katsingris said in a note on Saturday, though they acknowledged some analysts were expecting more.

Tesla said Saturday it was able to achieve the sales increase “despite ongoing supply chain challenges and plant closures.” Tesla has had to shut down production at its Shanghai facility several times due to lockdowns ordered by the local government.

Tesla’s first-quarter sales were nearly flat from the fourth quarter of 2021, when 309,000 vehicles were delivered. Almost the entire sales volume was accounted for by the Tesla Model 3 sedan and the Sport Utility Vehicle Model Y.

Some analysts believe Tesla could sell two million vehicles in 2022 after a factory near Berlin started producing the Model Y for European customers, challenging the German automakers that dominate the luxury market. Tesla sells far more electric vehicles than any other automaker, and battery-powered cars are growing faster than any other vehicle category. Sales of these cars could continue to rise as gasoline prices rise and remain high. Tesla’s $1 trillion market valuation is a sign the company is on track to dominate the industry from a Wall Street perspective.

At the same time, the electric car market is becoming increasingly crowded as established automakers belatedly offer more battery-powered models that resonate with buyers, such as the Ford Mustang Mach E or the Volkswagen ID.4. Traditional automakers could start grabbing a larger share of the electric-car market if, as some industry executives predict, semiconductor shortages ease later in the year.

Tesla will announce earnings and sales figures on April 20, the company announced on Saturday.

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