Tesla Q4 net income surges 59%, but slower growth expected in 2023


Tesla Inc. said it expects to grow deliveries at 37 percent this year, sharply lower than previous estimates of growth near 50 percent annually for the foreseeable future.

The automaker, which saw sales increase globally by 40 percent for 2022, slashed prices earlier this month amid expectations of an economic slowdown in the U.S. and greater competition in global markets.

Net profit for the quarter was $3.69 billion, or $1.07 per share, compared with $2.32 billion, or 68 cents per share, a year earlier.

Tesla said in its fourth-quarter shareholder letter that a 50 percent growth rate continues to be its long-term target, but a variety of factors would impact the number year by year.

“In some years we may grow faster and some we may grow slower, depending on a number of factors,” Tesla said, putting global sales at around 1.8 million this year vs. 1.31 million last year.

Tesla shares rose 1 percent to $145.80 in after-hours trading.

The EV leader’s financial results beat analysts’ expectations for revenue even as its margin per vehicle slipped. Analysts are watching gross margin at the automaker given this month’s price cuts of up to 20 percent of some models and trims.

The company said revenue was $24.32 billion for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $24.16 billion, according data from Reuters. Tesla sold 405,278 vehicles in the fourth quarter.

Tesla said its automotive operation margin was 25.9 percent in the fourth quarter, the lowest in two years.

Tesla offered discounts in its top markets during the quarter after strong orders had allowed the company to maintain and even raise prices in recent years. CEO Elon Musk said in December “radical interest rate changes” had affected the affordability of all cars.

Tesla has outperformed the industry and increased sales and profit to records in recent years, weathering the pandemic and global supply-chain issues better than rivals. But its recent, steep global price cuts mark a move toward stimulating growth at the expense of profit margins, underscoring softening demand.

“Tesla’s demand outlook is a whole lot more bullish than practically any other automaker,” said Garrett Nelson, analyst at CFRA Research, calling the quarter “solid.”

“Margin fell a little short. I think what we’re seeing is inflationary impact and higher raw material costs,” he added.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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