Tesla managed to meet its ambitious Model 3 production targets.
The electric carmaker confirmed Tuesday it produced 53,239 Model 3 sedans over the last three months, which is within its previously stated range of 50,000 to 55,000 cars.
On top of that, it delivered a record-setting 83,500 vehicles during the period, which included roughly 56,000 Model 3 deliveries.
The update comes as eagle-eyed internet sleuths have spotted thousands of unclaimed Teslas in parking lots around the US, stoking analysts’ concerns that it could be due to sluggish demand or continued delivery issues.
In a release, Tesla touted the quarter’s delivery numbers as record setting.
‘To put this in perspective, in just Q3, we delivered more than 80 percent of the vehicles that we delivered in all of 2017, and we delivered about twice as many Model 3s as we did in all previous quarters combined,’ the firm said in a statement.
It signals good news for Tesla, even as CEO Elon Musk wrapped up a tumultuous feud with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Musk announced he would step down as chairman of Tesla as part of his settlement with the SEC.
The SEC lawsuit accused Musk of securities fraud over his infamous ‘funding secured’ tweet, which surrounded his now-defunct plans to take the company private.
Many analysts and experts have pegged Tesla’s future on the success of the Model 3.
Tesla has steadily ramped up production and sales of the vehicle in recent months.
The firm nearly doubled its rate of Model 3 production compared to the June period, producing 53,239 Model 3s in the last three months vs. 28,578 Model 3s in the previous quarter.
Still, Tesla is only producing roughly 4,100 Model 3 sedans per week. The firm had hoped to be producing 10,000 cars per week by now.
The company said the higher deliveries came despite a 40 percent tariff imposed by Beijing on US cars.
The difficult economics make for ‘a challenging competitive environment, given that China is by far the largest market for electric vehicles,’ Tesla said in a statement.
‘To address this issue, we are accelerating construction of our Shanghai factory.’
Tesla unveiled plans for the Shanghai factory in July. Musk said at the time he hoped the plant would be ‘completed very soon.’
But the firm has yet to address another looming issue surrounding its vehicle deliveries.
Internet users have been posting photos of thousands of Teslas stationed at parking lots in California, New Jersey, Arizona and other states.
The vehicles were spotted by amateur detectives who flew drones over the parking lots to snap photos of the sitting cars.
Another ended up taking to the skies in a private plane to snap hi-res photos from the air before posting them on Twitter.
Tesla spokesman Dave Arnold told the New York Times that the large lots of vehicles were ‘logistics transit hubs’ and added, ‘Anyone observing those lots will see a change from one day to the next.’
However, the internet sleuths believe the parking lots may serve as evidence that something is amiss at the company.
They believe it may signal that Elon Musk hasn’t been truthful about the company’s delivery numbers and that demand isn’t as strong as many had thought.
Another group believes it could mean that Tesla is facing continued issues with getting the cars in the hands of consumers who’ve bought them.
Customers have been complaining that their Tesla delivery dates have been delayed over and over while vehicles sit unmoved in lots.
One tweeted to Musk last month: ‘There are 42 Tesla’s sitting at the Union Pacific Railroad in SLC. My car is one of these. I’ve been told I was getting delivery the 8th, then the 15th, then the 20th, then the 22nd, and now my delivery has been delayed indefinite. @Tesla @elonmusk… Please make this right.’
Musk tweeted back and acknowledged the problem: ‘Sorry, we’ve gone from production hell to delivery logistics hell, but this problem is far more tractable. We’re making rapid progress. Should be solved shortly.’
Musk attributed the problem to a shortage of trucks to haul cars around the country but others disagree saying there is ‘plenty of car haulage capacity.’