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Tesla Team Eyes 50%+ Production Growth for ‘22, Beyond

Jan. 27, 2022
With the company eyeing more capacity gains at its existing plants, Elon Musk teases new factory announcement(s) late this year.

Tesla executives plan to increase the electric vehicle manufacturer’s output by at least half this year and in future years, building on gains made in 2021, which they called a “breakthrough year.”

Tesla delivered about 940,000 vehicles last year—roughly 309,000 of them in the fourth quarter—and, as its plants in Southern California and Shanghai ramped up production, reached an annual run rate of more than 1.2 million cars by year’s end. (The company first reached a seven-figure annual run rate in late September.) That helped the manufacturer founded by Elon Musk produce $2.3 billion in net income on sales of $17.7 billion, compared to $270 million and $10.7 billion, respectively, in the last three months of 2020. Tesla’s operating margin for the quarter was 14.7%, up slightly from Q3 and from 5.4% in late 2020.

Speaking to analysts and investors on a Jan. 26 conference call, Musk said his team will not add to its product line this year but will continue to do groundwork for future products that include the Cybertruck and an entry-level sedan that would cost about $25,000. A key factor in that decision, he said, is that the still-tight supply chain is the biggest limiting factor on production and that launching one or more vehicles in the near future wouldn’t result in Tesla actually producing more cars.

A small silver lining to that dynamic, Musk said on the call while noting the number of semiconductor plants being built this year: “At least the chip side of things […] looks like it will alleviate late this year for ’23.”

Musk also said the Tesla team will “probably” announce future factory locations late this year. Executives are looking to further ramp capacity in California and China while teams at the company’s plants in Austin and Berlin are working toward certification and large production runs.

Tesla shares (Ticker: TSLA) were essentially flat in after-hours trading Jan. 26 after climbing 2% in the regular session. They have, despite sliding so far this year as part of the broader market's woes, risen about 45% over the past six months.

About the Author

Geert De Lombaerde | Senior Editor

A native of Belgium, Geert De Lombaerde has been in business journalism since the mid-1990s and writes about public companies, markets and economic trends for Endeavor Business Media publications, focusing on IndustryWeek, FleetOwner, Oil & Gas JournalT&D World and Healthcare Innovation. He also curates the twice-monthly Market Moves Strategy newsletter that showcases Endeavor stories on strategy, leadership and investment and contributes to other Market Moves newsletters.

With a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, he began his reporting career at the Business Courier in Cincinnati in 1997, initially covering retail and the courts before shifting to banking, insurance and investing. He later was managing editor and editor of the Nashville Business Journal before being named editor of the Nashville Post in early 2008. He led a team that helped grow the Post's online traffic more than fivefold before joining Endeavor in September 2021.

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