Jan 27, 2022 - Economy

3 takeaways from Tesla's big quarter

Tesla net income
Data: FactSet and company filings; Chart: Axios Visuals

Tesla's fourth quarter earnings revealed its largest profit by a large margin while highlighting the supply chain crunch that the electric automaker has weathered but can't outrun.

Catch up fast: The company beat Wall Street estimates, reporting $17.72 billion in revenues and $2.54 earnings per share. It netted $2.32 billion in Q4 profits on the strength of record deliveries.

Why it matters: Tesla dominates U.S. electric vehicle sales and is a key player globally, so its trajectory is important for wider adoption of EVs.

Zoom in: Here are a few takeaways...

1. It's tough out there. Tesla said its factories have been running below capacity for several quarters, and supply chain constraints are the "main limiting factor."

  • That's "likely to continue through 2022," the company warned. "We still expect to be...chip-limited this year," CEO Elon Musk told analysts on a conference call.
  • Nonetheless, Tesla expects another 50% increase in vehicle volumes this year, thanks to new factories ramping and current plants boosting output.

2. New models are moving targets. Musk confirmed that Tesla would not begin production of the futuristic-looking Cybertruck this year, which had initially been slated for late 2021.

  • Nor will it launch other new vehicles in 2022, like the semi truck or a new version of the Roadster, with the focus instead on engineering and other preparatory work on the models, Musk said.

3. Don't look for a $25,000 Tesla. In 2020 Musk said he envisioned Tesla producing a $25,000 model in around three years, but he downplayed that yesterday.

  • "We're not currently working on a $25,000 car," Musk said. "At some point, we will, but we have enough on our plate right now, too much on our plate."
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