Tesla outpaced analyst estimates for second-quarter vehicle deliveries today, defying a trend of plummeting sales in the wider auto industry as coronavirus-linked lockdown orders kept shoppers at home.
The unexpected delivery numbers come a day after Tesla became the highest-valued car maker, surpassing the market capitalistion of former front-runner Toyota.
Today's gains further widens Tesla's lead over legacy automakers as investors grow confident in its ability to define the industry's electric and software-driven future.
Analysts said the solid delivery numbers heighten expectations for a profitable second quarter, which would mark the first time in Tesla's history that it would report four consecutive profitable quarters.
Tesla delivered 90,650 vehicles during the quarter, significantly above estimates for 74,130 vehicles, according to Refinitiv data.
It delivered 80,050 units of its new Model Y sport utility vehicle and Model 3 for the quarter.
The company did not break out deliveries by model or country, but Chinese vehicle registrations showed accelerating consumer demand for the Model 3 sedan.
Nearly 16,200 Teslas were registered in China in April and May combined, with June figures still outstanding.
The company is also ramping up output at its Shanghai vehicle factory, where it aims to produce 150,000 vehicles by the end of this year.
The Shanghai plant was only briefly impacted by coronavirus shutdowns in late January and early February.
Tesla's only US vehicle factory in California, where the bulk of vehicles is currently produced, was shut down for some six weeks during the quarter, heeding local orders to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
While vehicle deliveries increased 2.5% on a quarterly basis, production dropped nearly 20%.
"While our main factory in Fremont was shut down for much of the quarter, we have successfully ramped production back to prior levels," the car maker said in a statement.
Tesla in January said 2020 vehicle deliveries should comfortably exceed 500,000 units, a forecast the company has left unchanged despite the pandemic.
Tesla is now seeking a location for a second US vehicle factory to build its Model Y and a new electric pickup truck, zeroing in on Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Austin, Texas.
Other major car makers posted lower US monthly or quarterly new vehicle sales this week due in large part to weak fleet orders, but said consumer demand remained robust despite the continuing coronavirus pandemic.