Tesla’s cheapest cars helped it notch another record year

Tesla shipped a record number of electric vehicles in the fourth quarter to help it edge out its targets for the year. The company delivered 1.81 million EVs in 2023 and built 1.85 million, according to a Tuesday morning press release.

Those figures were slightly above the 1.8 million goal Tesla announced at the beginning of this year, and were overwhelmingly driven by the company’s most affordable EVs, the Model 3 and Model Y. The two models accounted for more than 96% of the vehicles Tesla built and shipped this year.

Tesla built nearly 500,000 cars in the fourth quarter alone at its factories in California, Texas, Germany and China, and delivered 484,507 worldwide. That includes the first few Cybertrucks, which started shipping late last year at a price tag of around $100,000. But we don’t know exactly how many Cybertrucks the company has sent to customers to date as it is lumping in those figures with Model S and X sales in an “other models” line item.

The strong finish to the year comes after Tesla saw its deliveries decline in the third quarter for the first time in a year, owing to some factory shutdowns — something that impaired CEO Elon Musk’s loftier goal of building 2 million cars this year. The company spent much of the year tinkering with its prices, starting with big price cuts, which has taken a huge bite out of its industry-leading profit margins.

Tesla’s big year is also due in large part to the company’s success in China, where competition for market share is becoming fierce due to waves of price cuts from competitors. That includes BYD, which has recently been on track to outpace Tesla’s EV global sales.

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