Investor's Corner

Tesla’s Model 3 production ramp hits overdrive: 61.8k new VIN registrations in Oct so far

Tesla shares (NASDAQ:TSLA) have shown some recovery since the electric car maker pleasantly surprised Wall Street last week, when it posted $6.8 billion in revenue and beat earnings estimates with a GAAP profit of $312 million in the third quarter. The company’s shares, while still volatile, appear to be holding their gains, amidst new signs of an improving Model 3 production ramp and a recent vote of support from a major investor.

Since the beginning of the fourth quarter, Tesla has been exhibiting signs that its production ramp for the Model 3 is becoming even more stable. Immediately after its third-quarter earnings call, for example, Tesla registered a massive batch of 13,629 new Model 3 VINs, all of which are estimated to be RWD vehicles. Within the next two days, Tesla filed VINs for another 10,060 Model 3, this time comprised of both RWD and AWD cars. With these latest registrations, Tesla had registered a total of 61,843 Model 3 VINs in October alone.

It should be noted that Tesla only breached the 61,000-mark in Model 3 VIN filings this past July 1, almost a year into the production of the electric sedan. With this in mind, it appears that Tesla was practically able to register more than 11 months’ worth of Model 3 VINs in the first month of Q4. It should be noted that the company is only around halfway towards its goal of producing 10,000 Model 3 per week. During the third quarter earnings call, Elon Musk noted that a ramp to 7,000 Model 3 per week should be doable just by optimizing its existing lines.

“Yeah, very minimal to get (Model 3 production) to 7,000 a week. And then I mean that’s really just basically solving improving our time of the existing lines, and we can do 7,000 a week. So and then it gets a little harder as you start to go above 7,000, it would need — at least bringing lines down in Fremont for significant upgrades to get to 10k,” Musk said.

The company’s ongoing and improving ramp for the Model 3 comes amidst a vote of support from one of Tesla’s top investors. In a recent statement to Reuters, Nick Thomas, a partner at Baillie Gifford & Co, stated that the Edinburgh-based financial firm would be willing to provide additional investments to Tesla if needed. Baillie Gifford is the electric car maker’s third-largest shareholder, with a 7.72% stake in the company, just behind T. Rowe Price Associates Inc., which owns about 10%, as well as Elon Musk, the company’s biggest shareholder.

“If he (Tesla CEO Elon Musk) needs more capital, we would be willing to back him,” Thomas stated.

Despite being Tesla’s largest shareholder, Elon Musk has nonetheless been increasing his stake in the company. Earlier today, a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that Musk had purchased $10 million worth of TSLA stock at prices between $334.24 and $335.932 per share. Musk’s recent $10 million TSLA purchase augments another $20 million worth of shares that he bought in the aftermath of his settlement with the SEC over the agency’s lawsuit, which resulted from his now-infamous “funding secured” tweet last August.

As of writing, Tesla shares are trading 0.79% at $337.50 per share.

Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.

Tesla’s Model 3 production ramp hits overdrive: 61.8k new VIN registrations in Oct so far
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