Tesla deliveries beat. Stock soars. Is it too high?

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Tesla produced 103,000 vehicles in the first quarter, or about 4% of the nearly 2.4 million made by Toyota, which built its brand on affordability and reliability backed by innovations in large-scale manufacturing.

After several years of losses, Tesla has delivered three straight profitable quarters since the third quarter of 2019 and surprised investors with solid first-quarter deliveries despite the Covid19 outbreak.

Tesla reopened its Fremont, California-based factory after a long fight with the local authorities as sheltering-at-home rules were in place in May. Tesla delivered 10,600 Model S sedans and Model X SUVs, which was far above the consensus of 8,569 and a little above Canaccord Genuity's 10,000 estimate. The Model Y is now in production in Fremont, California.

The figures beat Wall Street expectations of around 74,100 in a clear sign that Tesla's sales have fared much better than its competitors. Traditional automakers sell more cars and earn much more profit than Tesla, which still has not reported a full year of profit since its founding in 2003.

Other major automakers posted lower US monthly or quarterly new vehicle sales on Wednesday due in large part to weak fleet orders, but said consumer demand remained robust despite the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

Tesla founder Elon Musk, 49, took a dig at USA securities regulators as the company rose to become the most valuable carmaker in the world overtaking Toyota.

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In the message to Tesla's roughly 48,000 workers, Musk wrote that it "really makes a difference for every vehicle you build and deliver".

The company posted a surprise profit of $16 million in the first quarter of 2020 despite temporary disruptions in productions due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The remarks were made by the Chief Executive Officer of Tesla after the stock surged on the company's record manufacturing and delivery numbers. The modest drop in deliveries is surprising because local officials forced Tesla to shut down its main auto factory, in Fremont, California, in March.

Versus the second quarter last year-a particularly strong one-those deliveries were down about 5%, however. That would be significantly higher than the company's sales of 367,500 previous year. With a market capitalization of US$224 billion, Tesla has surpassed Toyota Motor Corp.as the world's most valuable automaker.

This story has been corrected to show that Tesla Inc. sold 80,050 of its Models 3 and Y.

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