Electric car maker Tesla has sold 69,925 vehicles in the US during the third quarter of this year, overtaking auto giant Mercedez Benz which sold just 66,542.
According to Atherton Research, Tesla was shy of just 1,754 vehicles in outwitting another auto brand BMW. However, Atherton said that it expected Tesla’s sales to overtake BMW’s sales by the end of this year.
The news comes in the heels of Tesla’s founder and CEO Elon Musk’s run in with The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after he revealed on Twitter that he had the backing of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) to take the electric car maker private.
However, it later emerged that Musk did not discuss the specific terms which he outlined in Twitter with PIF, leading to regulatory scrutiny. Musk has since reached a settlement with SEC, agreeing to step down as the chairman of board of directors and pay a fine of $20 million. But Musk’s tweet had already done the damage, sending Tesla’s shares tumbling by 15%.
But despite such setbacks, Tesla has been looking to woo its investors by stepping up its production of Model 3 sedan. During the third quarter this year, the car maker delivered 55,840 Model 3s – some delivered after a two-year delay. Meanwhile the company sold close to 83,500 vehicles in total.
Tesla, whose Model 3 sedan has been plagued by delays, has also been affected by a trade war between the US and China that have seen import tariff rate soaring to 40% for its cars in China, compared to 15% for other imported auto brands in the Asian country.
Tesla and Musk have suffered from the ambitious delivery timeline that the latter had set for the production of its vehicles. In order to appease the investors and customers, the billionaire CEO has also been personally involved in its production process to narrow down the delivery delays for its models.
The Palo Alto, California, company has never been profitable on an annual basis since its IPO in 2010 but Musk had projected that it would reach profitability within the second half of 2018. With Tesla completing record deliveries in the third quarter, investors and analysts seem to have gained hope in its prospects.