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

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Employees work at the Tesla Gigafactory in Shanghai, east China, Nov. 20, 2020. U.S. electric car company Tesla in 2019 built its first Gigafactory outside the United States in the new Lingang area, with a designed annual production capacity of 500,000 units.

Ding Ting | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Tesla is expected to report 2020 fourth quarter results on Wednesday after the bell, and to offer guidance for the first quarter and full year ahead.

Here’s what analysts are expecting, according to an average of estimates compiled by Refinitiv as of Wednesday:

  • Earnings: $1.03 per share expected
  • Revenue: $10.4 billion expected

And here’s what guidance Wall Street expects from Tesla for the full year ahead:

  • 2021 earnings guidance: $4.15 per share expected
  • 2021 revenue guidance: $46.09 billion expected

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 Elon Musk’s maturing electric car company, seen as a triumph in a year when auto sales and factory operations were dampened by a global pandemic.

Starting around the end of 2019, Tesla has said that it expects to report positive cash flow and net income moving forward, with possible exceptions around the launch and ramp in production of new products or facilities. Last quarter was its fifth consecutive quarter of profitability — which led to the addition of the company 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.

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