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Tesla’s record Q1 powered by increased gross margin, average cost decreases

Tesla’s record first quarter in 2021 was powered by several things, but it all came down to the numbers, as usual. The automaker, coming off of its best quarter in terms of deliveries and production figures, was able to mark down significant gains in automotive gross margin while decreasing costs of production. This ultimately led to the average cost of its vehicles being sliced by a large percentage, especially when compared to 2017 figures when the Model 3 was just being launched.

Tesla (TSLA) Q1 2021 earnings results: $10.39B in revenue, beats with $0.93 EPS

The average price of Tesla’s cars has been slashed from roughly $84,000 to under $38,000 due to the ” launch of new products and new factories and the reduced mix of Model S and Model X,” the company said in its Q1 2021 Update Letter and Shareholder Deck. However, more contributions to the company’s ever-improving financial spreadsheet were made as gross margins improved with decreased production costs.

Tesla said in its Shareholder deck:

“While the ASP of our vehicles declined in Q1, our auto gross margin increased sequentially, as our costs decreased even faster. Reducing the average cost of the vehicles we produce is essential to our mission. In 2017, as we began production of Model 3, our average cost per vehicle across the fleet was ~$84,000. Due to the launch of new products and new factories and the reduced mix of Model S and Model X, our average cost declined to sub-$38,000 per vehicle in Q1.”

Tesla has always had impressive gross margins for its cars. One of the most recent reports of an impressive gross margin, which fuels profitability, was in January when Guosen Securities analyzed the Model Y. The study broke down the total gross margin and revealed it was 29.4%, around three times the industry average that lies at between 8-10% for luxury cars.

We previously reported on it, saying:

“According to the Shenzhen, China-based financial firm, Tesla’s China Model Y only costs ¥237,930 (USD 36,852) to produce. However, its selling point gives Tesla a 29.4% gross margin with a price of ¥339,900 (USD 52,646.25).”

Of course, cutting costs and improving margins will help the financials of any company. When you’re dealing with cars, you need demand, and Tesla has plenty of that with its Model 3 and Model Y. In fact, the Model 3 was the best-selling premium sedan in the world just three-and-a-half years into production, outselling highly-popular and long-time leaders of the luxury vehicle segment, like the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Tesla remains profitable for the seventh straight quarter, extending the already impressive company record. Additionally, Tesla beat consensus estimates with a revenue of $10.389 billion for the first quarter, non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.93, and non-GAAP net income surpassed $1B for the first time in the company’s history.

Tesla’s record Q1 powered by increased gross margin, average cost decreases
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