Tesla reports record profits, confirms long-term outlook

NEW YORK, Jan 26 — Tesla reported another round of record quarterly profits yesterday while confirming its long-term growth outlook in spite of concerns about rising competition and macroeconomic headwinds.

Elon Musk’s electric vehicle (EV) company reported fourth-quarter profits of US$3.7 billion (RM15.8 billion), up 59 per cent from the year-ago period as revenues jumped 37 per cent to US$24.3 billion.

The results were fuelled by a 31 per cent rise in vehicle deliveries compared with the year-ago period.

The EV giant, which startled investors earlier this month by announcing vehicle price cuts in the United States and Europe, acknowledged challenges such as rising interest rates and an “uncertain macroeconomic environment.”

Tesla’s response includes “accelerating our cost reduction roadmap and driving towards higher production rates,” the company said in its earnings release.

“In any scenario, we are prepared for short-term uncertainty,” said Tesla, while adding that its “relentless cost control and cost innovation” positions it to navigate the year 2023 better than rivals.

The company has described its long-term buildup as seeking to chalk up production growth of 50 per cent per year, with some years faster and some years slower.

Tesla employed similar language in its earnings release yesterday, but said it would reach 1.8 million vehicles in 2023, about 31 per cent above the 2022 production of around 1.4 million vehicles and 37 per cent above the 2022 deliveries of 1.3 million.

However, Tesla said the 2023 projection of 1.8 million vehicles as “ahead of its long-term” target, raising questions about the figure.

Shares of Tesla have fallen about 50 per cent from their year-ago level, reflecting worries about the introduction of EVs from other automakers, the drag from a slowing economy and anxiety that Musk’s other pursuits such as Twitter are hindering the company.

Musk’s US$44 billion acquisition of Twitter was just one of the myriad controversies surrounding the unpredictable billionaire.

The Tesla chief has been in court this week addressing another thorny matter, a lawsuit filed by investors who argue that Musk’s statements in 2018 about potentially taking Tesla private were fraudulent and responsible for their losses.

Musk testified this week that a tweet about taking Tesla private at US$420 a share was no joke and that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund was serious about helping him do it.

Shares of Tesla rose 0.7 per cent to US$145.50 in after-hours trading. — AFP