Tesla sales surge as global demand picks up speed

Tesla’s third-quarter sales rose 44% from a year ago as global demand for its electric vehicles proved stronger than most other automakers.

The company said it delivered 139,000 SUVs and sedans from July through September compared with 97,000 deliveries during the same period a year ago.

The sales outpaced Wall Street estimates. Analysts polled by data provider FactSet expected the company to sell 137,000 vehicles during the quarter.

Tesla could post its fifth straight profitable quarter when it releases third-quarter earnings later this month.

Tesla has weathered the coronavirus pandemic better than most car companies. Its second-quarter global sales rose 2.5% over the first quarter despite virus precautions forcing the shutdown of its only U.S. assembly plant. But they were still down 4.8% from the second quarter of 2019

Tesla posted a surprising $104 million net profit from April through June, boosted by the sale of electric vehicle credits to other automakers.

In the second quarter, Tesla said it delivered 90,650 vehicles as it rolled out the new Model Y SUV in the U.S. and China.

Coronavirus restrictions adopted in the San Francisco Bay Area forced Tesla to close its only U.S. assembly plant in Fremont, California, for almost two months starting March 23. It didn’t reopen until May 11.