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Global Economy

Tesla posts record $5.5 billion profit in 2021

    The e-car group Tesla, which has been making losses for years, has established itself in the black. But Elon Musk warns of ongoing supply chain problems and is putting the brakes on new models. It remains unclear when production in Grünheide will really start.

Despite the global chip crisis and problems in the supply chains, the US electric car manufacturer Tesla earned more in 2021 than ever before in a financial year. The bottom line is that the group posted a profit of 5.5 billion dollars (4.9 billion euros) on Wednesday, 665 percent more than in the previous year. Revenue climbed 71 percent to $53.8 billion, Tesla said after the US stock market closed in Austin.

The e-car pioneer delivered a good 936,000 vehicles in 2021, an increase of 87 percent. Tesla did not set a specific sales target for 2022; in the long term, the company is aiming for annual growth rates of around 50 percent. But since there are still problems in the supply chains, CEO Elon Musk has now put some pressure on the brakes. “We will not introduce any new vehicle models this year,” said the star entrepreneur at a conference call with analysts. It makes no sense as there is still a shortage of components.

The start of production of the “cybertruck” has been delayed until 2023

According to Musk, the start of production of the electric pickup “Cybertruck”, which was actually planned for last year, is likely to be delayed until 2023. To expand manufacturing, Tesla also relies heavily on its first European plant in Grünheide, near Berlin, and a new US car factory in Austin, Texas. Both are behind schedule. Tesla kept a low profile at Grünheide. After the start of the test phase, the group is still waiting for the final production approvals from the authorities in Germany.

In the annual report, the company described 2021 as a “breakthrough year for Tesla”. There is now no longer any doubt about the profitability of electric cars. Tesla had been in the red for a long time and only posted its first annual profit since the company was founded in 2003 in 2020. Meanwhile, the group earns well: In the most recent quarter, the surplus rose by 760 percent year-on-year to $ 2.3 billion. Revenue grew 65 percent to $17.7 billion in the three months ended December.

Tesla’s quarterly report clearly exceeded market expectations. Nevertheless, the warning of ongoing supply chain problems temporarily put the stock under pressure after the trading session. Tesla’s profit margins continue to rise, while emissions certificates are becoming less important. Trading in these pollution rights – which other automakers need to improve their carbon footprint – is a lucrative business. In the final quarter, Tesla had a turnover of 314 million dollars. That was 22 percent less than a year ago.

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