Investor's Corner

Tesla Model 3 ramp continues amid 4.6k new VIN registrations, higher US sales rankings

Tesla might have just finished a record third quarter, but the electric car maker seems set to push forward with its Model 3 ramp without missing a beat. Just yesterday, Tesla registered 4,609 new Model 3 VINs, ~85% of which are estimated to be Dual Motor. With this latest batch of filings, Tesla has registered a total of 122,517 Model 3 to date. 

The recent batch of Model 3 VIN filings bode well for Tesla’s continued push for the electric car this Q4. Tesla’s chances this fourth quarter has gained the confidence of some Wall Street analysts, including Romit Shah of Nomura Instinet, who noted that Tesla might have hit its break-even point in the third quarter. The analyst also noted that as Telsa closes in on production and delivery numbers of 100,000 vehicles per quarter, the company could finally reach a point where it could be sustainably profitable.

It should be noted that Tesla’s production ramp for the Model 3 is only partly done. Tesla eventually aims to produce 10,000 units of the electric sedan every week, and so far, the company is only producing around half this number on average. Despite this, the Model 3’s disruption of the US auto market has started becoming notable, particularly in the sales figures of rival automakers in September. The Tesla Model 3 has slowly risen through the ranks of the US’ best-selling passenger cars over the past months. This became particularly notable in August, when the Model 3 was listed by auto sales tracking website GoodCarBadCar as the 5th best-selling passenger car in the United States.

The Model 3 went up GCBC‘s best-selling passenger cars list once more in September. Tesla sold an estimated 22,250 Model 3 in during the month, beating the Toyota Corolla Family for the No.4 spot. What’s particularly notable was that with the Model 3’s rise, the sales of the three vehicles above it — the Toyota Camry, the Honda Civic, and the Honda Accord — all saw a notable dive. Looking at September’s sales figures, the gap between the Model 3 and America’s best-selling passenger cars continues to get smaller.

Estimated US passenger car sales figures for September 2018. [Credit: GoodCarBadCar]

The Tesla Model 3’s rankings at the auto sales tracking website’s overall list also improved. Last August, the Model 3 was listed by GoodCarBadCar as the 15th best-selling vehicle in the United States. In September, the Model 3 moved up two places, ranking as the 13th best-selling vehicle in the country, in a list that includes mainstream trucks and SUVs like the Ford F-150, Honda CR-V, and the Toyota Rav4.

Estimated US passenger car sales figures for September 2018. [Credit: GoodCarBadCar]

Tesla’s fourth quarter seems poised to take the company towards even more milestones. Gigafactory 1, the company’s expansive facility in Nevada, is set to receive upgrades in the form of three new battery cell assembly lines from Panasonic. The new lines, which were initially estimated to be completed near the end of 2018, are now expected to be finished ahead of schedule. New Grohmann machines, which are designed to make module production three times cheaper and three times faster, are also set to be operational in Q4.

The Model 3 ramp has moved forward since the electric car’s production began last year. That said, there is still a lot that needs to be done. Other variants of the vehicle, such as the $35,000 base Model 3, as well as Right-Hand-Drive versions of the electric car, are yet to enter production. Both the Model 3 in Standard trim, as well as RHD versions, are expected to hit production next year.

Tesla Model 3 ramp continues amid 4.6k new VIN registrations, higher US sales rankings
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