Business|Tesla Says It Hit Goal of Delivering 500,000 Cars in 2020

The milestone seemed unreachable just three years ago and comes as Tesla has seen a string of profitable quarters and a buoyant stock.

A Tesla store in Red Hook, Brooklyn.A Tesla store in Red Hook, Brooklyn.Credit…an Rong Xu for The New York Times

  • Jan. 2, 2021, 11:08 a.m. ET

The electric carmaker Tesla reported on Saturday that it had produced more than half a million cars in 2020, a milestone that seemed unreachable just three years ago.

In a news release posted on its website, the company said it had delivered 180,570 cars in the fourth quarter, bringing its total for 2020 to 499,550, a new milestone for the electric carmaker.

The 2020 sales total represents a 36 percent increase from 2019. And Tesla’s production of 509,737 cars in 2020 was up 40 percent from 2019.

It is the latest success for a company that excelled in 2020, despite the pandemic. While some carmakers have seen increases in sales in the pandemic, none has seen as big an increase as Tesla.

Even without the sales record, Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, had plenty to crow about — a buoyant stock, new factories and a string of profitable quarters.

Analysts had become bullish on Tesla’s sales in recent weeks, based on signs of strong demand overseas.

“We believe, given the underlying strength we are picking up in China, as well as a late push in Europe and the U.S., that 190,000 to 200,000 is well within reach” for the fourth quarter, Dan Ives, a Wedbush analyst, wrote in a recent note to investors.

The upstart automaker will probably face stiffer competition in 2021. Ford Motor recently began delivering the Mustang Mach E electric sport-utility vehicle to customers.

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