Tesla reported record quarterly deliveries on Wednesday, putting the electric-car maker within reach of its goal for the year.
The company said it delivered 97,000 new cars in the third quarter, a rise of almost 2 percent from the previous period. Production rose to 96,155 cars, a 10 percent increase. Tesla said that it took in a record number of net orders in the quarter.
Last week, its chief executive, Elon Musk, told employees in an email that the company had “a shot” at delivering more than 100,000 vehicles in the quarter, adding that “demand is strong.”
Tesla said it delivered 79,600 Model 3 sedans in the quarter, an increase of 2.6 percent from the second quarter. But deliveries of its Model S and the Model X models totaled 17,400, a decline of 250. But these vehicles often sell for $90,000 and produce far more profit than the Model 3.
Tesla lost $408 million in the second quarter even as it reported record deliveries and a substantial increase in revenue.
Tesla introduced the Model S in 2012, but has yet to turn an annual profit since its founding in 2003. And automakers including Porsche, Volvo and Audi are rolling out competing electric cars at a time when Tesla is at least a year away from the next addition to its lineup, the Model Y.
Tesla is also spending heavily to build a factory in China, develop an electric pickup truck, improve customer service and expand its network of charging stations.
In adition, Tesla's cumulative sales reached a threshold at the end of last year that cut the federal tax credit available to buyers by half, to $3,750.
There have also been concerns about the capabilities of Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assist system. Last month, the National Transportation Safety Board said Autopilot was at fault when a Tesla vehicle ran into a stopped fire truck in California in 2018. “The system was unable to immediately detect the hazard and accelerated the Tesla toward the stationary truck,” the agency said.
And on Wednesday, federal safety regulators said they were looking at a new Tesla feature called Smart Summon, which is supposed to enable a vehicle to navigate from a spot in a parking lot to a waiting driver. But videos have appeared in social media showing crashes or near accidents while Smart Summon was in use.
In a statement, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was aware of reports about Smart Summon and was “in ongoing contact with the company and we continue to gather information.”