Electric automaker Tesla sees late year surge after a bumpy start

Tesla surpasses 2019 goal and delivers 367,500 electric vehicles

Earlier today, Tesla released its delivery figures for the fourth quarter and revealed that it delivered a record-breaking 112,000 vehicles for the quarter, representing a 15,000 increase from the previous quarter.

Tesla shares were up as much as 5.5 per cent at US$454, touching a record high.

Wang Lei, a Shanghai-based analyst for China International Capital Corp, said Tesla could sell a combined 120,000 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.

Tesla, a pioneer in electric cars, probably will have an edge for the next one-to-two years before competition starts catching up, said David Whiston, an analyst at Morningstar Inc in Chicago.

We also saw news last week of Tesla further tweaking the price of the Shanghai-made Model 3, down to 299,050 RMB (a little under $43,000) after subsidies, which strongly outcompetes the price of alleged rivals such as the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class (also both locally made in China). "We have also demonstrated production run-rate capability of greater than 3,000 units per week, excluding local battery pack production, which began in late December", Tesla added.

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Tesla will begin shipping the first Model 3 sedan made in China as of Monday, as interest in electric vehicles in the country has decreased since production began.

"Tesla is rushing to start deliveries before other global brands bring in more EVs", said Zhang Yan, an analyst at research firm LMC Automotive in Shanghai.

Bloomberg reported last month that localization would help Tesla cut prices by at least 20% in 2020.

"It's a distorted need", says Robin Zhu, an analyst at Bernstein. Daniel Ives of Wedbush, who has a neutral rating on stock and a price target that implies almost 14% downside from where shares closed Thursday, called the results "another major feather in the cap for Musk & Co." in a Friday report. The Tesla vehicles have a leading driving range that matches the appeal of the brand. Fortunately, for Elon Musk, we are not referring to his tweets, but to the company's Q4 delivery numbers, which beat expectations across the board.

The Model 3 is Tesla's most affordable auto, with lower-range versions available starting at $35 000 (R500 000) in the US.

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