Updated Jan 24, 2024 - Economy

Tesla warns that 2024 sales growth "may be notably lower"

Two people gaze at a gull-wing vehicle

Tesla vehicles are displayed in a Manhattan showroom Wednesday in New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Tesla on Wednesday warned that its EV sales growth could suffer until the company comes up with a cheaper vehicle.

Why it matters: Tesla has enjoyed significant growth in recent years based largely on expanded production and deliveries of the Model Y and Model 3 vehicles.

Driving the news: Tesla said in its year-end earnings document that "in 2024, our vehicle volume growth rate may be notably lower than the growth rate achieved in 2023."

  • The company noted that it's between "two major growth waves" — the first being its Model 3 and Model Y, and the second being the "next-generation vehicle" to come.

Between the lines: Tesla reported net income of $7.9 billion in the fourth quarter, though that included a one-time bump of $5.9 billion due to a tax matter.

  • Revenue totaled $25.2 billion, up 3% from a year earlier but missing S&P Capital IQ estimates of $25.8 billion.
  • For the year, the company's revenue was $96.8 billion, up 19%.

Worth noting: Tesla CEO Elon Musk said during an earnings call Wednesday the company expects to begin production on its next-gen vehicle "toward the end of 2025."

  • But he added, "I don't want to blow your minds, but I'm often optimistic regarding time."
  • Widely expected to be the company's most affordable model yet, it won't have many bells and whistles, Musk has said.

Meanwhile, Musk also:

  • Reiterated his desire to gain at least 25% control of the company. He's threatened to pursue AI initatives elsewhere if he doesn't get it. "I see a path to creating an artificial intelligence and robotics juggernaut of truly immense capability and power," Musk said.
  • He said Tesla has "had some tentative conversations" with other car companies about licensing Tesla's "full self-driving" system to them.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Go deeper