Tesla Delivery Estimate: Q3 2020: 140,000 | Q4 2020: 194,000

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Editor’s note: For at least a few years, Troy Teslike has been tracking Tesla reservations, orders, and deliveries to a degree I have not seen elsewhere. I have used his data several times to help create my own sales reports, and as reference work for other articles. Troy has decided to start contributing content for CleanTechnica based o this work. Below is an initial article. If you appreciate what Troy is providing for the public, I encourage you to contribute to his Patreon account: Patreon.com/Teslike — Zach Shahan

Hi everybody. Here is my current table for Tesla deliveries in 2020, which includes my latest calculation for Q3 and Q4 2020.

This is actually the 4th update I have posted in Q3. Here is how my estimates have changed so far in Q3:

My estimates for Q3 and Q4 2020 haven’t changed much since July 16, but a lot has actually changed if we look at changes within each region.

USA: I dramatically increased my Model 3 delivery estimate for the US from 19,610 on August 9 to 24,680 today. This is based on some state registration data for July, plus data from my survey, plus overall passenger car sales in the US. I use multiple methods to calculate this number and most of them now show that my previous estimate was too low.

We will have a better idea in the next update, around September 10–15, which will include August numbers. Be aware that state registration data is limited to very few states and there is usually a lag between actual deliveries and registrations. Therefore, it’s very easy to completely misread it, which happens quite a lot in the media.

I lowered my Model Y delivery estimate for Q3 from 34,000 on August 9 to 26,660 now. This is based on data from my Model Y survey, which shows that the ramp-up is slower than previously expected. However, even though it’s slower, it’s still great. It looks like Q3 deliveries in North America will be up 57% compared to Q2.

When making calculations for Model Y, it makes sense to look at production, because Model Y is still production limited. Based on my calculation, there is still a backlog of 8,500 Model Y buyers in North America who are waiting for production. That means all of the Model Y vehicles Tesla can produce will be delivered by the end of the quarter. Therefore, I have first calculated an estimate for Model Y production in Q3 based on VINs, and then I subtracted a small number of cars because the last 1 or 2 days of Q3 production might not be deliverable in time.

Just to clarify, my Model Y estimate is not affected by sample rate changes in my survey. It doesn’t matter if more or fewer people use my survey. I’m looking at the highest VINs reported by buyers. However, converting VINs to production estimates is not as straightforward as it might seem, which is another topic on its own. See my Model 3 VIN chart here if you find this topic interesting. The green line shows actual production, and each dot shows a VIN reported by a buyer.

Here are the links to my order tracker spreadsheets:

Teslike Model Y Survey & Order Tracker
Teslike Model 3 Survey & Order Tracker

I have heard rumors that Tesla might reduce the price of Model 3 SR+ in North America in Q4. I don’t know if it will happen, but the best time to do it would be October 10–14, 2020. However, I’m not sure that’s necessary, because Q4 is already the strongest quarter of the year because of seasonality. Also, Q4 this year will be even stronger compared to Q3 because of recovery from the pandemic. My estimate for Q4 assumes no price reduction.

Canada: I use data from my surveys. For example, in my Model Y Order Tracker spreadsheet, 507 buyers from North America reported taking delivery in Q3 2020, and 39 of them are from Canada. I use these data to calculate the split for USA/Canada. I’m more certain about my estimate for North America than the exact split for USA/Canada.

Europe: I increased my delivery estimate for Europe from 22,688 on August 9 to 26,613 now because there are now more ships on their way. I’m actually calculating 33,234 units shipped to Europe, but inventory dropped to 1,070 units at the beginning of this quarter and I expect some of the units shipped there will go towards restoring inventory to regular levels.

China: Demand and production in China are currently well balanced at current prices. There is no backlog and Made-in-China Model 3 production is enough to cover the continuous flow of new orders while maintaining a reasonable inventory. Based on my calculation, at the end of June 2020, inventory was 3,285 units, which is perfectly normal. I dropped my estimate for China from 46,250 on August 9 to 43,467 now. Half of that change is because of fewer Model S/X shipments, and the other half is because I’ve changed my estimate for MIC Model 3 deliveries after a closer look.

Demand at current prices is stable, but Tesla is opening more stores, which should increase demand. I don’t think a price reduction in Q4 is necessary to reach 50,000 MIC Model 3 deliveries. Last year, Model 3 deliveries in China in Q4 were 33% higher than Q3 because of seasonality. My estimate for Q4 this year is only 19% higher. Seasonality alone should be enough. In addition, they are opening more stores in China. Therefore, a price reduction seems unnecessary at this point.

As for MIC Model Y, Tesla’s China website says deliveries will begin in early 2021, but I think Q4 2020 is more likely. Construction of Phase 2 is expected to finish in October 2020.

In the long term, cost reductions in China will make it possible to lower prices and increase volume while maintaining gross margins around 25%. Considering the following changes Tesla is currently working on or planning to implement, there is definitely potential for another factory in China. Demand for MIC Model 3 will likely double when Tesla finishes the following upgrades:

  • Switch to 70-to-1 piece casting machine. Q4 2020 or Q1 2021 is most likely.
  • Switch to the new 1500-to-100 meter wiring system. The timeline for this is unknown at this time.
  • 100% local suppliers. This will likely happen in Q1 or Q2 2021.
  • Cheaper and heavier lithium-iron-phosphate battery for MIC Model 3 SR. Q4 2020 or Q1 2021 is most likely.

Rest of Asia/Pacific: The countries included in this group are (from most to least unit sales) South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and New Zealand. I look at all the relevant data and adjust my calculations accordingly.

Q3 vs Q4 2020: Seasonality will play an important role in Q4 2020. Here is a chart that shows this effect:

Error margins: At this time in the quarter, I would expect +/-8% error for my estimate for Q3 2020. In the next update around September 10–15, I would expect +/-5% error. In the last 4 quarters, my accuracy was 90–96% early in the quarter (see the first table) and 94–99% at the end of the quarter (second table). You can find more details here.

I use data from many sources to calculate my estimates, including data from my order tracker spreadsheets, VIN data, shipping data, state-level registration data for some US states, registration data from Europe for the first and second month of the quarter, historical sales data, etc. I regularly update my estimate when new data come in. The next update will be between September 10–15. I’ll post it first on Patreon.com/Teslike and then a few days later here on CleanTechnica and on Twitter @TroyTeslike. Patreon allows me to spend more time working on Tesla content, which I love doing.

This is my first article here on CleanTechnica. Therefore, I would like to add a few details on what I do. In the Tesla community, I’m known for my order tracker spreadsheets and Tesla delivery estimates. I’m a Tesla addict. I love Tesla’s mission. I’m also a big fan of Google Sheets and I love projects where I can combine the two. I would like to thank Zachary Shahan for providing this venue and being cool about it. Thanks.

Troy Teslike

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