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Tesla’s millionth car is one of the first Model Ys off the line

Tesla is celebrating a major milestone that distances it from its startup past and cements its position as a major player in the global automotive industry. The California-based company has built its one-millionth car.

Co-founder and CEO Elon Musk announced the achievement on his personal Twitter page. He posted two photos; one showing the milestone car, a Model Y, being driven off the assembly line, which is still housed in what looks like a tent, and another in which the crossover is surrounded by the proud men and women who created it.

Reaching the one-million car milestone is a remarkable achievement for the relatively young company. It was founded in July 2003 but it didn’t introduce its first model, the Lotus-based Roadster, until 2006. It took the company about four years to build its first 1,000 cars, and roughly a decade to build 999,000 more.

To add context, Henry Ford founded the company that bears his name in 1903 and built the millionth car, a Model T, in 1915. Cadillac, which for decades peddled extremely expensive luxury cars often made by hand, was born in 1902 and didn’t send off its one millionth chassis until 1949. Given that Tesla’s cars aren’t cheap, it rose rather quickly.

The milestone car is doubly significant because it’s one of the first examples of the Model Y to roll off the production line. Tesla provided no details about the crossover, though it looks like a range-topping Performance version, and there’s no word on whether it will be delivered to a customer, auctioned off, or kept in-house.

Musk isn’t known for keeping his promises on time, and delivering late has become one of his personal trademarks, but he went above and beyond by launching production of the Tesla’s newest model many months ahead of schedule. While deliveries were originally planned to begin in the fall of 2020, pre-production prototypes began appearing across the United States earlier in the year and the first cars should be in the hands of customers before the summer.

Positioned in a booming segment of the market, the Model Y could become Tesla’s bestselling model by a long shot. The competition is awake, and the number of rivals is growing monthly, so the crossover won’t stay in a class of one for long.

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Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
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