Tesla posts record profits, expects supply chain woes to persist

CEO Elon Musk says the electric vehicle giant will not roll out any new models this year, to focus on production

Tesla hit new record annual and fourth-quarter profits Tuesday, in spite of supply chain challenges that the firm says it expects to continue throughout 2022.

Elon Musk

SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk looks on as he visits the construction site of Tesla's gigafactory in Gruenheide, near Berlin, Germany, May 17, 2021. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi/File Photo (REUTERS/Michele Tantussi/File Photo / Reuters Photos)

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The Texas-based company headed by Elon Musk posted a record annual profit of $5.5 billion, up from the previous record of $3.47 billion in 2020, which was its first profitable year. It also had a record fourth-quarter profit of $2.32 billion in 2021 according to its earnings report, but still saw its stock take a downward turn after the closing bell before it made a recovery.

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In its outlook, Tesla reported that it plans to ramp up production capacity as quickly as possible but noted, "Our own factories have been running below capacity for several quarters as supply chains became the main limiting factor, which is likely to continue through 2022."

The electric vehicle giant delivered more than 936,000 electric vehicles globally in 2021, up 87% from the year before.

Musk was expected to give a product update during an investor call following the report, during which the CEO said the company was focused on ramping up production on current vehicle models right now and would not be introducing new ones this year.

Tesla

Tesla is on track to post its fastest annual production growth since 2018 despite parts shortages.  (Michael Reynolds/Shutterstock)

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After specifically being asked about whether progress was being made on the prospect of a $25,000 compact model Musk had teased in the past, he replied that Tesla was not working on such a vehicle currently and that the company "had enough on its plate" at the present.

He also did not mention models that were listed on Tesla's Q4 financials as being "in development," including a Tesla Semi, Roadster, and a "Future Product." Musk said the firm was working on getting its Cybertruck, which is also in the development phase, to the point that it is affordable.

Musk did say that he expects in 2022 that Tesla's self-driving technology will get to the point that it is safer than a human operator, and said the company could possibly announce new factory locations by the end of the year.

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As for his vision for Tesla over the long haul, Musk said he sees the company's humanoid robot prototype, internally dubbed Optimus, eventually becoming more significant than its car business. Musk said the robots will first operate in Tesla factories, "doing things like moving parts around."