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Tesla deliveries slipped in Q2 even as pandemic hit

[NEW YORK] Tesla reported a modest decline in new-car deliveries for the second quarter, as sales in China in other foreign markets helped the company weather the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

The company said Thursday it delivered 90,650 cars in the quarter, down 5 per cent from the 95,365 it sold in the same period in 2019. It sold 88,496 cars in the first quarter of 2020, when most of the company's operations were largely unaffected by the virus.

Local officials forced Tesla to shut down its main car factory, in Fremont, California, in March. Two months later, the company restarted production earlier than it was authorised to do so after its chief executive, Elon Musk, criticised stay-at-home orders as "fascist."

Analysts said Tesla was able to increase sales in China, where it recently began producing Model 3 sedans at a factory in Shanghai. The new plant allowed Tesla to sell cars in China, the world's largest market for electric cars, without paying import duties that had limited its sales in that country in the past.

China has also rebounded from its coronavirus outbreak faster than the United States, where auto sales have been slowed significantly by the pandemic. Tesla does not break out US sales, but General Motors and Fiat Chrysler reported Wednesday that new-vehicle sales in the United States fell by more than a third in the second quarter.

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Tesla's delivery numbers were better than analysts had expected, and the company's stock price was up about 8 per cent on the news. The company's stock has soared in recent months and has been setting new highs this week. At its current price, Tesla has a market value of nearly US$210 billion. That is more than the value of Toyota Motor which was previously the world's most valuable automaker, and three times the combined value of GM and Ford Motor.


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