Tesla Reports Largest-Ever Quarterly Profit Despite Pandemic

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Tesla has reported its fifth straight profitable quarter, with sales and deliveries of its electric cars soaring to record highs despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

On October 21st, the Silicon Valley-based automaker posted a net profit of $331 million in the three months to September, its largest-ever quarterly profit. This is more than triple its earnings in the previous quarter and more than double what it made in the third quarter of 2019.

Tesla’s revenue hit $8.771 billion in the third quarter, a 39 percent increase from the previous year. The once cash-starved company also ended the quarter with $14.5 billion in cash on hand, a 69 percent increase in just three months.

Tesla’s record-breaking earnings came after its deliveries of 139,593 cars to customers in the third quarter, a 54 percent increase from the previous quarter, and a 44 percent increase year-on-year. This also beats the company’s previous record of 112,000 deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2019.

A Tesla spokesperson said the company is still hoping to achieve its goal of delivering over 500,000 cars by the end of the year. However, they admitted that this has become more difficult given the shutdown of Tesla’s Fremont, California plant due to the pandemic. 

As of October 21st, Tesla has delivered 318,350 cars. To meet its target, the company will have to deliver over 181,000 cars in the fourth quarter.

Despite some setbacks, Tesla remains committed to delivering on its promises.

The company reported that it had recently finished upgrading its Fremont assembly line. This means it can now build 500,000 Model Y compact crossovers and Model 3 sedans per year, in addition to 90,000 Model S sedans and Model X midsize SUVs.

The company’s new factory in Shanghai, China, called the Tesla Giga Shanghai, has the capacity to produce 250,000 cars annually. Additional assembly lines to build the Model Y – which it predicts will be its best-selling model – are currently being constructed in Berlin, Shanghai, and Texas.

Tesla’s resiliency in recent months has helped boost investor confidence in the high-flying stock, which has more than quadrupled in value since January of 2020. With a market capitalization of close to $400 billion, Tesla is now the most valuable automaker in the world, beating larger and older companies such as Toyota and Volkswagen.