Growing confidence that the electric carmaker could overcome its persistent growing pains, while also achieving comfortable profit margins, lifted the company’s stock market value by a third in 2021, to more than $1tn.
The blowout figure, announced on Sunday, caps a year in which Tesla broke through earlier bottlenecks and rapidly scaled up production at a new plant in China to come close to reaching 1m in annual sales.
Chip shortages and other supply constraints have hit some other carmakers, slowing production. Speaking to investors in October, Zach Kirkhorn, chief financial officer, said shortages had prevented the company from running its factories at full capacity, and the big jump in production that it had managed in the first nine months of the year had been “exceptionally difficult to achieve”.
Tesla’s fourth-quarter deliveries came in some 40,000 above the mean estimate of Wall Street analysts who follow the company, according to FactSet. The strong performance put the total number of deliveries for the year at 936,172, up from 499,550 the year before.
Despite that, Tesla went on to smash through its own record production volume in the final quarter with 305,840 new vehicles rolling off its production lines, or 68,000 more than in the preceding three months.
The 308,600 new vehicles delivered to customers in the final quarter was 28 per cent higher than the previous record, which was hit in the third. It was also 71 per cent more than in the same period the year before.
With two new plants due to start increasing production this year, Wall Street is forecasting another leap in sales, with deliveries expected to reach 1.42m. That is despite delays to some of the company’s planned new models, with volume production of its Cybertruck pick-up put off until 2023 and no target delivery dates yet for its semi-truck and a new version of its original Roadster.