January 3, 2020 10:00 AM, EST

Tesla 2019 Sales Hit Goals, Rise Over 50% From Previous Year

Tesla Model XTesla Model X by David Zalubowski/Associated Press

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

DETROIT — Tesla Inc.’s global deliveries rose more than 50% last year, meaning the company surpassed the low end of its sales goals for 2019.

The electric car maker delivered a record of about 112,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter and approximately 367,500 for the year.

Tesla, based in Palo Alto, Calif., had projected deliveries of between 360,000 and 400,000 units worldwide.

Tesla shares rose nearly 2% in premarket trading Jan. 3 to $438.44. If that trend holds, the company’s stock will hit an all time high Jan. 3.

The lower-cost Model 3 accounted for 83% of the company’s fourth-quarter sales at 92,550. The higher priced Model S Sedan and Model X large SUV made up the rest.

The sales increase should bode well for Tesla’s fourth-quarter and full-year earnings next month.

But the company issued a note of caution Jan. 3, saying that while sales figures are slightly conservative, they could vary by 0.5% or more when final numbers are out.

“Vehicle deliveries represent only one measure of the company’s financial performance and should not be relied on as an indicator of quarterly financial results, which depend on a variety of factors” including cost of sales, foreign currency fluctuations and the mix of leased versus sold vehicles, Tesla said.

In the third quarter, Tesla posted $143 million in earnings, raising hopes that the company, which also makes solar panels and battery storage units, finally could be turning the corner to profitability.

Tesla has posted mostly losses during its first decade as a publicly held company, and it lost $1.1 billion during the first half of last year.

Tesla’s new factory in Shanghai produced just under 1,000 cars for sale and deliveries have started in the world’s largest car market, the company said in a prepared statement. Tesla broke ground on the factory less than a year ago and expects to produce more than 3,000 vehicles per week there.

Canaccord Genuity analyst Jed Dorsheimer, in a note to investors earlier this week, wrote that China will play a critical role in Tesla’s growth. While Tesla has faced its share of financial worries, Dorsheimer believes those concerns will be muted this year. shows the Model 3 sold in serious volume in 2019, estimating almost 160,000 sales for the year. Other automakers investing billions to roll out electric models have serious catching up to do. After the Model 3, one has to scroll far down the sales rankings to find Tesla’s Model S and X and offerings from General Motors Co. and Nissan Motor Co. And 2019 was a year to forget for the Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf, with deliveries dropping 8.9% and 16%, respectively.

Bloomberg News contributed to this report.

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing: