REUTERS: Tesla Inc shares were set to open at a record high on Monday after the electric-car maker reported better-than-expected vehicle deliveries in 2020, extending a rally from last year that saw the stock surge more than eight times.
It delivered 499,550 vehicles, above Wall Street estimates of 481,261 vehicles, according to Refinitiv data, but 450 units short of Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk's target for 2020.
Tesla's dizzying stock rise made it the world's biggest automaker by market value as the electric-car maker showed it could sustain its profitability with five straight quarters of gains.
That helped it ride out the coronavirus slowdown, defying last year's wider auto industry trends of slumping sales, quarterly losses and global supply chain disruptions.
"We are raising our forecasts to reflect higher 4Q deliveries and reports of strong demand for the Model Y in China, which is also suggestive of higher future deliveries," J.P. Morgan analysts said in a client note.
The company, however, faces an uphill task of ramping up production. Its delivery push so far has been supported by the new Shanghai factory, the only plant currently producing vehicles outside California.
"The bad news is to keep up with this demand, the company needs to quickly build new factories in Austin, Texas, and Brandenburg, Germany," said Gene Munster, managing partner at Loup Ventures.
"... Ramping production is difficult and will be one of the most important Tesla topics in 2021, along with the status of FSD (Full Self-Driving)".
Shares of the company, which is valued at nearly US$669 billion and joined the benchmark S&P 500 index in December, were up 2.8per cent at US$725 in premarket trading.
(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)