Tesla Reports Record Profit but Warns of Supply Problems

Tesla said Wednesday that its profits more than quadrupled last year to $ 5.5 billion, the highest total in its 19-year history, as sales have risen sharply, particularly in Europe and China.

But the automaker warned that supply chain difficulties caused by the epidemic would again limit production during this year.

“Our own factories have been running below capacity for many quarters as the supply chain has become a major limiting factor, which is likely to continue until 2022,” the company said.

Tesla’s revenue rose to $ 53.8 billion in 2021 from $ 31.5 billion a year earlier. Delivery rose 87 percent to 936,000 cars. It ended the year with a strong fourth quarter, with revenue growing 65 percent to $ 17.7 billion and net income growing to $ 2.3 billion, compared to $ 270 million in the same period in 2020.

The company generated $ 4.6 billion in cash in the fourth quarter and $ 17.5 billion in cash at the end of the year.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, said the company would not announce any expansion of its product lineup this year so it could focus on increasing production.

He added in a conference call with analysts that adding “models” does not make sense when demand exceeds supply. “If we introduce new vehicles, our total production will decrease.”

Tesla said it was working on its Cybertruck pickup, which was due to be produced in 2021.

The company reiterated earlier estimates that it expects an average of 50 percent growth in sales over the next few years. Mr. Musk said Tesla would grow “above comfort” in 2022.

Despite the shortage of computer chips, Tesla grew last year, affecting the industry as a whole. The company was able to reduce the impact of the shortage by switching to more easily available types of chips. Tesla could make such a change because its software allows its car to work with more different types of chips than other automakers’ vehicles.

“Chip shortages are still an issue,” he said. Musk said Wednesday. “We expect to be chip-limited this year. That fact must be taken into account. “

In addition to its established factories in Fremont, California and Shanghai, Tesla needs output from plants it is building in Texas and Germany to sustain its rapid growth.

“Our goal is to increase production as quickly as possible, not only by increasing production at new factories in Austin and Berlin, but also by maximizing production from our established factories in Fremont and Shanghai,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday. “We believe that competitiveness in the EV market will be determined by the ability to add capacity to the entire supply chain and ramp production.”

Mr. Musk said Tesla will begin looking for locations for the new vehicle plant by the end of the year.

The company said it hopes to start shipping the Model Y compact made in Austin. Production at the plant near Berlin, which was expected to begin by the end of 2021, has been delayed due to disputes over permits with German authorities.

Tesla dominates the electric vehicle market in the United States, but is likely to face some serious competition this year. Ford Motor, General Motors, Volkswagen and Hyundai have outlined ambitious plans to launch new electric cars in the United States. Two new electric vehicle manufacturers, Revion and Lucid Motors, have also begun shipping vehicles to compete with Tesla.

Tesla’s bottom-line figure for 2021 includes about $ 1.5 billion, which it earned by selling regulatory credits to other automakers, slightly lower than last year.

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