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Model 3 Prospects Improve As Tesla’s Production Ramps Up

From Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) reported over the weekend that it delivered a record amount of vehicles in the first quarter.

The Palo Alto, CA-based electric vehicle and solar energy giant said it delivered a little over 25,000 vehicles in Q1. That’s up 69% year-over-year, and is a new quarterly record for the company, which has seen demand far outstrip its ability to supply cars to eager customers in the last few years.

Tesla noted that 13,450 of the vehicles were Model S sedans, while about 11,550 were Model X crossover SUVs. Final numbers should be available in the next few weeks, and could include additional vehicles of up to 0.5%.

Additionally, about 4,650 vehicles were in transit to customers at the end of the quarter. Those cars will count toward the company’s Q2 delivery totals.

Tesla’s total production rose to 25,418 vehicles in the first quarter — also a new record. This is really the key metric that investors should focus on, because production will continue to be a major bottleneck for the company moving forward.

That bottleneck is particularly important to address soon, because Tesla’s new Model 3 is expected to be officially released later this year, with vehicles beginning to ship some time early in 2018. The Model 3 will be hands down its cheapest vehicle to date, starting at $35,000 before incentives, putting it within reach of the majority of American (not to mention foreign) car owners.

The Model 3 represents Tesla’s coming out party of sorts, and continued growth in its production capabilities will likely determine whether the car is a hit or not.

Investors clearly took a bullish view of the production data, as Tesla Inc shares rose $5.87 (+2.11%) in premarket trading Monday. Year-to-date, TSLA has gained 30.24%, versus a 5.46% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

TSLA currently has a POWR Rating of A (Strong Buy), and is ranked #1 of 24 stocks in the Auto & Vehicle Manufacturers category.

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