Tesla zooms past mile marker for electric-car deliveries

'Just the beginning for the Thomas Edison of our day'

Tesla increased its electric-car deliveries 50 percent in 2019 as CEO Elon Musk zipped past the low end of his target range for the year.

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The numbers announced Friday drove the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company's shares to a record high of $438.16 at the opening bell, a gain of nearly 2 percent. Tesla stock hit a record last week in anticipation of strong sales, showing traders who bet the shares would tumble may have underestimated Musk, according to Thomas Hayes, chairman of Great Hill Capital.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
TSLATESLA INC.476.60+22.13+4.87%

Tesla shipped a record 112,000 vehicles over the past three months of 2019, and its 367,500 deliveries for the full year fell squarely within Musk's projections of 360,000 to 400,000.

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The lower-cost Model 3 accounted for 83 percent of the company’s fourth-quarter sales, with 92,550 deliveries. The higher-priced Model S Sedan and Model X large SUV made up the rest at about 19,450.

The milestone "largely excludes the impact and opportunity of their newly launched facility in Shanghai," added Hayes who expects China to play a critical role in Tesla’s growth this year.

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"While Tesla has only produced just under 1,000 cars in Shanghai, the expected run-rate capacity is greater than 3,000 cars per week -- which would be a huge bump in global deliveries in coming quarters," Hayes told FOX Business Friday. "So while a 50 percent jump in deliveries in 2019 over 2018 seems like a huge jump, it may just be the beginning for the Thomas Edison of our day."

Edison, who developed the first commercially viable light bulb in the late 19th century, founded General Electric, once one of the world's largest companies.

Tesla says it will focus on expanding production in both the United States and at its Shanghai plant, which has already begun deliveries.

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The company warned that the preliminary sales figures are "slightly conservative" and might vary by 0.5 percent or more from final numbers.

“Vehicle deliveries represent only one measure of the company’s financial performance and should not be relied on as an indicator of quarterly financial results, which depend on a variety of factors” including supply costs, foreign currency fluctuations and the mix of leased versus sold vehicles, Tesla said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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