But it is not clear to what extent the industry’s recovery will be sustainable. Credit is tightening for some low-income buyers, and an increase in coronavirus cases could set the industry back, said Michelle Krebs, editor-in-chief of Cox Automotive, a market research firm. “The virus is not yet under control, and now the president and the first lady have it – it’s creating a lot of attention for consumers.”
For Tesla, the quarterly sales record was only the latest in a series of achievements. The company’s shares have risen so much in recent months that it is now by far the most valuable auto company in the world.
Yet despite the surge in sales, Tesla’s stock closed around 7% on Friday, fearing it would hit its target of selling 500,000 cars this year. In the first nine months of the year, it delivered 318,000 vehicles. To reach his goal, he would have to sell more than 180,000 cars, which would be another record.
Joseph Spak, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said in a report to investors that this was “not an unrealistic goal”, but achieving it now “seems increasingly difficult.
Longer term, however, Tesla’s ability to sell nearly half a million cars per year represents a profound change for the company. Just over a year ago, Tesla was scrambling to raise funds and allay fears of running out of cash.