DETROIT – Tesla on Wednesday said its first-quarter net profit was more than seven times higher than a year ago, buoyed by strong sales despite global supply chain kinks and pandemic-related production cuts in China. .
The electric vehicle and solar panel company made $3.32 billion from January to March. Excluding special items such as stock-based compensation, the Austin, Texas, company earned $3.22 a share. That beat Wall Street estimates of $2.26 a share, according to data provider FactSet.
Revenue for the quarter was $18.76 billion, also beating estimates of $17.85 billion. It was driven by several price increases intended to offset the rising costs of lithium, nickel, cobalt and other precious metals used to make batteries.
It might be harder for Tesla to publish similar numbers later this year. It is facing costs from building new factories in Germany and Texas, as well as rising commodity prices. It’s also looking at increased competition as startups and traditional automakers launch more electric models.
The company said its weekly production for the quarter was strong, but a spike in COVID-19 cases brought the temporary closure of its Shanghai factory, as well as part of Tesla’s supply chain.
“Although limited production (at the Shanghai factory) has recently restarted, we continue to monitor the situation closely,” the company said in a letter to investors.
Tesla appears to have handled the parts shortage better than the rest of the industry.
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Tesla shares closed Wednesday down nearly 5% at $977.20 but rose 4% in extended trading after the company released its figures. Shares are down about 7.5% so far this year.
CEO Elon Musk is expected to attend the company’s earnings call on Wednesday. He may also be asked about his $43 billion hostile bid to take over Twitter.
Despite Chinese production and supply chain issues, Tesla reiterated its guidance of 50% average annual growth in vehicle deliveries over the next few years. “The growth rate will depend on our equipment capacity, operational efficiency and supply chain capacity and stability,” the company said.
While production has started at factories in Texas and Germany, Tesla said ramping up at both locations will take time. The company said its factories are under capacity because of a shortage of parts supplies.
Tesla also says it expects the “Full Self-Driving” beta testing software to be rolled out to all customers who have purchased the feature by the end of the year. Tesla said cars cannot drive themselves, despite the name, and drivers must pay attention and be ready to intervene at all times.
Tesla delivered a record 310,000 vehicles worldwide in the first quarter, an increase of approximately 68% over the same period in 2021. Tesla delivered 185,000 vehicles in the first quarter of last year.
Last year, the company delivered a record 936,000 vehicles, up 87% from 2020 numbers. The company said in February that it expects 50% annual sales growth, meaning it expects about 1 .4 million vehicles are delivered this year.
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