Tesla released its Production and Delivery figures for the first quarter of 2021 earlier today, and it proved that CEO Elon Musk was right about the Model S and Model X not being crucial to the company’s ultimate long-term growth. During Tesla’s Q3 2019 Earnings Call, New Street Research analyst Pierre Ferragu asked what Musk thought about the S and X moving forward and how Tesla planned to deal with the cannibalizing effects of the Model 3, the car that overtook the popularity of the company’s flagship vehicles.
Referring to the Model S and Model X as “niche products,” Musk always seemed to know that Tesla’s flagship vehicles wouldn’t take the company into “mass-market” growth. “I mean, they’re very expensive, made in low volume. To be totally frank, we’re continuing to make them more for sentimental reasons than anything else. They’re really of minor importance to the future,” Musk said.
He was right. Looking at Tesla’s Q1 2021 delivery figures, there is a simple dash under the Model S and X category. Symbolic of the shutdown S and X production lines that are being retooled at the Fremont factory in preparation for the production of the refreshed vehicles, Tesla only delivered S and X vehicles in the company’s inventory. Despite the absence of 50% of the company’s all-electric models, Tesla reported nearly 100,000 more vehicles in Q1 2021 than it did in Q1 2020, moving from 88,400 to 184,800.
This is where Musk’s outlook becomes incredibly accurate, proving that his 2019 quotation regarding the Model S and Model X’s importance to the future is relatively minuscule. Tesla doesn’t need its two flagship vehicles to grow or sustain demand. The Model 3 and the Model Y do that.