The following is an update on my previously published estimates for Tesla’s third quarter (Q3) 2020 deliveries. My Tesla delivery estimate is now 144,000 for Q3, 187,000 for Q4, and 510,387 for 2020. I think 500,000 in 2020 is still 95% likely. Here is the latest version of my 2020 Tesla deliveries table:
This is my 5th update in Q3. If you haven’t seen the previous one, check out the article here from September 3. Below is a table that shows what changed since then. For example, my delivery estimate for Model 3 in China is now 3,449 units lower and my delivery estimate for Model 3 in Europe is 5,235 higher than it was on September 3.
USA: I reduced the Model S/X and Model 3 numbers because of state registration data. Unfortunately, the quality of the data is 6/10. I’m more certain about 8,040 Model S/X deliveries in the US than 23,113 Model 3s. Some interpretations of the data suggest a higher number for Model 3, perhaps even 27,000. We will have a better idea in the next update.
I sometimes read comments about demand problems in the US or about sales dropping over time. I don’t think looking at just Model 3 sales makes sense because Model 3 and Y are very similar cars. Model Y is just a better version of Model 3. Also, there is definitely some cannibalization. Based on my Model Y Survey, 10.5% of Model Y buyers come from a Model 3.
Therefore, it makes sense to look at Model 3+Y sales instead of just Model 3. Quarterly production and delivery numbers Tesla releases are also for Model 3/Y. Tesla doesn’t release the numbers separately. Below is a chart that shows Model 3/Y deliveries in the US since late 2017 when they started making the Model 3. I prefer yearly charts to quarterly because they eliminate seasonality.
My Model Y delivery estimate for North America was 26,660 on September 3. I have now increased it to 29,703 because the latest VIN data shows an increase in production. Here is my detailed table for Model Y production and deliveries:
Europe: I’m now calculating 39,118 units shipped to Europe, up from 33,234 un my previous update. This is actually the largest shipment ever. The previous largest one was 36,391 units shipped. I estimate some of the 39,118 units will go towards restoring inventory to regular levels, which is normally between 4,700–6,700 units but dropped to 1,070 at the end of June and then to zero at the end of July because there were no new shipments from Fremont because of the factory shutdown.
When thinking about Tesla deliveries in Europe, an important detail to remember is the uneven monthly split between the first, the second, and the third month of the quarter. Because of long transit times from the US to Europe, most deliveries happen in the last month of the quarter. Therefore, news articles that talk about Tesla sales in Europe plummeting in the first or second month of the quarter are meaningless. Similarly, Tesla breaking records in the third month is not that meaningful either. It makes more sense to look at quarterly total deliveries instead of monthly. Here is a chart that shows this effect:
China: My estimate is now 2,068 Model S/X and 38,651 Made-in-China (MIC) Model 3. The Model 3 number is based on June+July+August deliveries. I assumed the September deliveries total would be the same as June, which was 14,976 units according to CATARC, based on the mandatory insurance numbers. Model 3 sales in China are not as strong as previously expected, but I don’t see any issues because they still haven’t released the Long Range AWD and Performance versions of MIC Model 3. Also, Tesla could increase demand by switching Model 3 SR+ to the cheaper lithium-iron-phosphate battery. This would make a price reduction possible without losing gross margins. A possible reason why Tesla hasn’t done this yet could be the number of parts it is getting from suppliers. Even if one supplier can’t ramp up units, there is no point in generating more demand.
Exports from China: There was this Reuters article that came out a few days ago that says Giga Shanghai might start exporting Model 3 to Japan and Hong Kong in 2021. Both are right-hand-drive countries. Therefore, it would make sense to add the other right-hand-drive countries — the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia later on. I think that’s what’s going to happen eventually. I don’t think Tesla currently has any plans to export cars from China to other countries in Europe that are not right-hand-drive. In terms of yearly Model 3 sales volume, the UK is around 10K while the other RHD countries combined are also around 10K. So, ~20K in total per year. This will free up some capacity at Fremont which Tesla could use for something else.
Q4 2020: My 187,000 estimate does not assume any price reductions. It’s higher than Q3 because of seasonality, economic recovery from the pandemic, and an increase in Model Y production at Fremont. This doesn’t mean there won’t be a price reduction. There could be. It’s just not part of my calculation yet.
This next table shows how my estimates for Q3, Q4, and 2020 have changed over time so far throughout this quarter. It’s always interesting to look at trends over time. My estimate for Europe has constantly gone up with each update, while China has constantly gone down.
The next chart shows yearly Tesla deliveries by region. This includes my estimates for Q3 and Q4 2020. This year, APAC (including China) will see a big increase because of local production. However, the first and second half of the year is very different. APAC in H1 2020 was 62,683. My estimate for H2 is 107,212. The total is ~170,000. However, next year H1 will be much higher than 62,683. It might be around 90,000. That puts the 2021 APAC total at around 197,000, excluding the Model Y.
2020 will only show part of the positive effects of local Model 3 production in China. The increase will continue in 2021. We definitely need to have a closer look at 2021 deliveries. This was actually the most requested topic in a poll that ended today on Patreon. Therefore, I will make a detailed calculation soon. This will include checking videos of construction at Giga Berlin and Giga Austin and comparing those videos to Giga Shanghai. Patreon gets early access, but I will post it later on Twitter/CleanTechnica too.
Data sources I use:
- USA: State registration data, my Model 3/Y Order Tracker Spreadsheets (aka surveys), VIN data, historical sales data, market trends.
- China: Monthly registration data for the first and second month, my research based on battery or other data from suppliers.
- Europe: Shipping data, monthly registration data for the first and second month of the quarter, historical sales data.
- APAC: Shipping data, historical sales data.
Error margins: At this time in the quarter, I would expect +/-5% error for my 144,000 Q3 2020 estimate. In the next update on September 30, I would expect +/-4% error. In the last 4 quarters, my accuracy was 90–96% early in the quarter and 94–99% at the end of the quarter. More details can be found here.
The next and final update for Q3 will be on September 30. If you want to see early draft versions a few days before that, check out my Patreon here. Otherwise, see you on September 30. Thanks.