Tesla Inc. delivered a record number of vehicles in the first quarter in the face of growing electric-car competition and supply-chain challenges that have hit the global auto industry.
The Silicon Valley auto maker’s roughly 184,800 global deliveries in the first three months of the year eclipsed the high set in the previous quarter and more than doubled from the same period a year earlier, when Tesla idled its lone U.S. car plant in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Deliveries, which cruised past analysts’ expectations, were up about 2% from the year-end quarter.
The electric-car maker handed over nearly 500,000 vehicles to customers globally last year—its first full year in the black—and expects deliveries to advance more than 50% in 2021, though it hasn’t set a specific target.
Stiffer competition from the likes of Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG , whose all-electric vehicles are making inroads in key markets, is increasing pressure on Tesla to accelerate production growth and bring new models to market.
Analysts surveyed by FactSet on average expected Tesla to hand over about 168,000 vehicles to customers in the first three months of the year, which typically are the company’s weakest for deliveries. That forecast fell in recent weeks as auto makers contended with a global shortage of semiconductors that forced many companies to scale back output. Ford, for example, said Wednesday that it was scheduling more downtime for some of its plants because of tight chip supplies.