Thursday, May 26

Tesla sees record profit as electric car deliveries soar | Tesla

Tesla posted record fourth-quarter and full-year profits in what it called a “breakthrough year,” despite supply chain difficulties.

The company earned $5.5 billion last year compared to the previous record of $3.47 billion in net income posted in 2020. It was the third consecutive profitable year for the electric vehicle and solar panel maker.

“In 2021, our cumulative profitability since the inception of the company turned positive,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a call with investors late Wednesday. “Which I think makes us a real company right now. This is a critical milestone.”

Tesla, which moved its headquarters from California to Texas last year, delivered a record 936,000 vehicles last year, almost double the figure for 2020. Fourth-quarter vehicle sales reached 308,600, also for the first time.

Those numbers fell short of the 1 million vehicles previously promised by the company, but they came in the face of a global shortage of computer chips that has slowed the entire auto industry.

“His fourth home run indicates [Tesla] it was executed perfectly with Musk doing an outstanding job navigating through global supply shortages,” said Jesse Cohen, senior analyst at

Musk said in a call with investors that the company would look to build new factories over the next year and announced new locations by the end of 2022.

He predicted that Tesla vehicles would achieve “full self-driving” by the end of 2022. Musk, however, frequently receives criticism for its self-driving deadlines, as it has failed to deliver on those promises in the past.

The company has also faced research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for safety concerns with its autopilot features. That investigation focused on 12 accidents in which Tesla owners collided with parked vehicles, resulting in 17 injuries and one death.

Before the Tesla report, Musk tweeted who had been driving a prototype of Tesla’s upcoming electric pickup, the Cybertruck, around the company’s factory in Austin, Texas, saying, “That’s amazing.”

Musk said releases of that vehicle, as well as its next model, the Roadster, would be delayed until “hopefully next year” to focus more on the “scale-out” of existing models in 2022.

“If we were to introduce new vehicles, our total vehicle production would go down,” Musk said. “We will not introduce new vehicle models this year.”

He also addressed questions about the potential for a more affordable Tesla, a topic investors have focused on after Musk hinted at a $25,000 electric car. Musk said Tesla is “not currently working” on it.

“At some point we will. We have enough on our plate right now,” Musk said. “Too much, frankly.”

Musk also discussed a humanoid robot model that could help build cars, something he previously announced in August 2020, calling it “the biggest product development we’re doing this year.”

Tesla has weathered the global supply chain crisis better than other automakers, and on average, analysts expect December quarter revenue to rise 53% to $16.41 billion and adjusted earnings per share of 2 $.32, according to Refinitiv.

Analysts have said Tesla’s two new factories in Texas and Berlin could eventually double production capacity, but it’s unclear if Tesla has started production.

“While production isn’t ready everywhere today, the fact that they’re getting facilities up and running quickly and incorporating new and flexible technologies will help them continue their ascent,” said Alyssa Altman, a consulting analyst. Sapient.

Caught in a sell-off in growth stocks, Tesla shares have fallen about 23% since their record close in November, and are down 10% so far in 2022.

Shares fell in after-hours trading despite the positive report, perhaps as Musk admitted supply chain issues could present obstacles to Tesla’s progress in 2022.

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