You can find estimates for Tesla Model 3 production left, right, and center these days. What’s nice is when you can find an estimate from people with a good track record, people who did a good job estimating sales in previous months and quarters. When those estimates are based on solid, robust data, all the better.
Before going further, though, remember that quarter 3 (Q3) ends at the end of September, not the end of August. Anything can happen in one month, so any production estimates at this point are soft estimates based on a variety of assumptions. The production estimate from the source* I’m referencing for this article changes on a daily basis. Since I’ve been watching it closely, it’s been gradually climbing, but if Tesla runs into production problems or slows production for any reason for a couple of days, the estimate could potentially drop.
As one more note before getting to the core of the news (since I love to bury the lede), notice that the accuracy of the source’s Q1 estimate was 98.4% and the accuracy of its Q2 estimate was 96%. That’s one reason I say this is a solid source. Another reason is that the estimates are based on VINs from Tesla buyers, VINs from the NHTSA, and public Tesla data — not unicorn flatulence.
Oh, actually, I didn’t bury the lede — it’s right there in the title. The source I’m referencing, a crowdsourced effort led by “Troy/Teslike” that started in the Tesla Model 3 Owners Club forums and Tesla Motors Club forums estimates 51,812 Model 3s will be produced in Q3. That’s within Tesla’s official guidance, which is 50,000–55,000. (Deliveries are expected to be higher.)
If you like to cross-check sources and estimates, now might be a good time. You can see in that screenshot above that this team estimates 74,029 Model 3s have been produced since July 2017. Another popular source, Bloomberg, estimates that there have been 80,383 Model 3s produced by now. In other words, the 51,821 estimate for Q3 is based on data and/or calculations that are considerably more conservative than the Bloomberg Model 3 production tracker’s data and/or calculations. If you trust Bloomberg’s numbers more, you may be inclined to blow past Tesla’s guidance of 50,000–55,000 Model 3s in Q3.
Here are four more charts from the crew behind the 51,821 estimate:
If you do some simple calculations using those charts, you can see that the team is estimating approximately 18,000 Model 3s will be produced in September, just a bit more than the 17,008 it estimates for August and the 16,599 it estimated for July.
If you’re particularly interested in Tesla’s financials, not just production totals, remember that I wrote last week that higher-spec versions of the Model 3 have apparently been growing in sales (i.e., deliveries). This should boost Tesla’s gross margins and could help Tesla to reach a solid profit in Q3. (See: Tesla Model 3 Average Selling Price (ASP) = $59,300, Surveys Find.)
The last chart of the article covers Tesla’s quarterly sales. It’s a sort of mind-blowing chart.
That’s a dramatic boost in Tesla production in just the past 5 years. And remember, every step along the way, critics claimed — often quite loudly — that Tesla couldn’t produce significantly more cars than it was producing at the time, that demand wasn’t there anyway, and that the sky is neon orange (you’re just not looking closely enough). It appears all three claims have been incorrect.
As just one more reminder, the estimates above are based on historical data. Since September hasn’t even arrived, we have yet to see how production will progress in the last ⅓ of the quarter. The estimate could continue to climb — as has been happening in recent weeks — or it could drop. If it changes significantly in the coming weeks, I will publish an update.
*h/t Tesla Motors Club forum member Fact Checking