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Tesla Beats on Earnings and Revenue, Says Supply Chain Issues Were ‘Main Limiting Factor'

Yasin Ozturk | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
  • Tesla beat on the top and bottom lines.
  • CEO Elon Musk gave a "product road map" update saying the company would not release any new model vehicles in 2022.
  • Instead, Tesla is focusing on developing autonomous vehicle tech, and scaling up production at its new factories in Austin, Texas and outside of Berlin.

Tesla reported fourth-quarter results that came in stronger than expected on Wednesday. Shares fell as much as 5% in extended trading on Wednesday after the automaker warned supply chain issues could persist throughout 2022, but later rebounded into slightly positive territory.

Here's how the company performed:

  • Earnings (adjusted): $2.52 per share, vs. $2.36 per share expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv
  • Revenue: $17.72 billion, vs. $16.57 billion expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv

Revenue rose 65% year over year in the quarter, while automotive revenue totaled $15.97 billion, up 71%, according to a statement.

Energy generation and storage revenue was $688 million, which was down 8% and below the StreetAccount consensus of $815.1 million. It was the lowest revenue for that division since the first quarter of 2021.

Net income, at $2.32 billion, was up some 760%, and Tesla said it had a 27.4% gross margin, compared with 26.6% in the previous quarter.

"Our own factories have been running below capacity for several quarters as supply chain became the main limiting factor, which is likely to continue through 2022," the company said in a shareholder deck.

CEO Elon Musk said on the company's earnings call that he expects Tesla to remain "chip-limited" in 2022, and that the company would introduce no new vehicle models this year as a result.

"We will not be introducing new vehicle models this year. We will still be parts constrained." He said the company would instead work on engineering and tooling to create those future vehicles.

Shareholders had been waiting for progress updates on the company's long-delayed heavy duty Semi truck and experimental Cybertruck pickup.

The CEO also said the company is not currently working on a $25,000 compact electric vehicle, contrary to the ambitions he announced at a Tesla Battery Day presentation in 2020.

Musk alluded to ongoing supply chain issues in a tweet Last November, writing, "Oh man, this year has been such a supply chain nightmare & it's not over! I will provide an updated product roadmap on next earnings call."

Despite those challenges, Musk said, Tesla had been making quite a few cars in Austin and Berlin starting in late 2021. He noted, "In Texas, we're building Model Ys with the structural battery pack and the 4680 cells. We will start delivering after final certification of the vehicle which should be fairly soon."

Tesla's first U.S. factory in Fremont, California, achieved record production in 2021, the company noted. The company aims to expand capacity at that facility beyond 600,000 cars per year.

In its shareholder deck, Tesla revealed that it has expanded its experimental driver assistance systems testing program, dubbed FSD Beta, to around 60,000 users in the U.S.

"Full Self-Driving (FSD) software remains one of our primary areas of focus," the company wrote. "Over time, our software-related profit should accelerate our overall profitability."

The California DMV and federal vehicle safety regulators at NHTSA are both investigating Tesla's approach to testing new, and unfinished driver assistance features with customers on public roads in the US. The California DMV is also investigating Tesla's use of the term "Full Self-Driving" to describe its premium, driver assistance package.

A spokesperson for the California DMV told CNBC in mid-January, "The DMV shares the concern held by many other safety stakeholders about the potential for driver inattention, misunderstanding, or misuse as these systems become more prevalent.  Industry, government, safety organizations, and other stakeholders must work together to ensure that automated driving technologies are developed, tested and ultimately rolled out in a manner that builds public trust and provides for the safety of all road users."

Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated Tesla's automotive revenue for the quarter. It was $15.97 billion.

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