Tesla misses on earnings, expects 50% average annual growth in deliveries going forward

Tesla reported earnings after the bell and it’s a miss on earnings, but another profitable quarter for Elon Musk’s electric vehicle and solar business.

Shares fell about 4% after hours.

Here are the results, versus what analysts were expecting according to estimates compiled by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings: 80 cents adj. vs $1.03 per share expected
  • Revenue: $10.74 billion vs $10.4 billion expected

The company also gave some production guidance going forward, writing “Over a multi-year horizon, we expect to achieve 50% average annual growth in vehicle deliveries.” The company expects faster delivery growth than that for 2021.

Tesla’s gross margins reached 19.2% in the fourth quarter of 2020, the lowest since the last quarter of 2019. Capital expenditures hit $1.15 billion for the period ending December 31, 2020.

The company also reported positive free cash flow for the year of $2.79 billion, more than double the 2019 figure of $1.08 billion.

Tesla previously said it had delivered 499,550 vehicles in 2020, falling barely shy of its guidance for half a million vehicle deliveries in 2020. (Deliveries are the closest approximation of sales numbers disclosed by Tesla.) It produced 509,737 vehicles during the year.

Both deliveries and production numbers set a new record for the maturing electric car company, seen as a triumph in a year when auto sales and factory operations were dampened by a global pandemic.

Tesla also said it would begin producing its latest model — a crossover SUV, the Model Y — at new plants in Austin, Texas, and Brandenburg, Germany, in 2021 using the company’s own new battery cells, which Tesla unveiled at an annual shareholder meeting and battery presentation in September last year.

Today’s report is Tesla’s first since its addition to the S&P 500.

Tesla is currently building new factories in Austin, Texas, and Brandenburg, Germany, after quickly constructing and reaching a high volume of production at its last new plant in Shanghai.

Vehicle sales in China largely enabled Tesla to hit record deliveries in 2020. So did the introduction of a new crossover SUV, the Model Y, which Tesla began to produce in serious volumes in the first quarter last year out of its Fremont, California car plant.

By the period ending in September 2020, Tesla was making more Model Ys than Model 3s for US drivers, according to NHTSA records on light vehicle production. The company has not historically broken out sales numbers by region, or precise model. Instead it combines sales of Model Y and 3, and Model S and X.

Since Tesla’s third quarter earnings call in October 2020, the price of the company’s stock has more than doubled, giving it a market capitalization of more than $835 billion and making it the fifth-most valuable company in the U.S.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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