Tesla’s Quarterly Profit Soars to Record $1.1 Billion

Tesla’s Quarterly Profit Soars to Record $1.1 Billion

Tesla Inc.’s

TSLA 2.21%

generated a record quarterly profit as the car maker largely sidestepped the effects of a global chip shortage that has constricted production for many global auto makers.

The Silicon Valley electric-car maker, as it posted second-quarter earnings on Monday, said its ability to navigate ongoing supply-chain challenges would help dictate its pace of growth in the second half of the year as it races to satisfy growing demand for battery-powered vehicles.


Do you think Tesla can fend off the Ford Mustang Mach-E and other rival electric vehicles coming to market? Join the conversation below.

In a sign of the challenges the company faces in introducing new models and securing parts for all its vehicles, Tesla again delayed its semitrailer truck—already two years late—with first deliveries now slated for 2022. Tesla attributed the delay to supply-chain issues and limited battery-cell supply, as well as wanting to focus on getting new factories online.

The company’s plans for its first pickup truck, once expected to go to customers as early as this year, are also being affected by parts issues, Chief Executive Elon Musk said on an earnings call, without giving a revised first delivery date.

The company reported revenue of roughly $12 billion for the period ended June 30, nearly double the year-ago period, and a profit of $1.1 billion, marking its eighth sequential quarter in the black. Wall Street expected Tesla to report roughly $11.4 billion in revenue and around $600 million in profit, according to analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Tesla produced more than 206,000 vehicles in the second quarter, more than doubling its output from the year-ago quarter, when the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic limited production and consumer purchasing.

Global auto sales have cooled somewhat during 2021 amid a shortfall of semiconductors. Many auto makers, including

Ford Motor Co.

F 1.52%


General Motors Co.

, have been forced to idle assembly plants over supply constraints, squeezing vehicle inventories and pushing up prices.

“For the rest of this year, our growth rate will be determined by the slowest part in our supply chain,” Mr. Musk said. “Chip supply is fundamentally the governing factor on our output.”

He added that the company navigated the semiconductor shortage by substituting alternative chips and developing software for them. A limiting factor in the quarter was the availability of modules that control vehicle air bags and seat belts, Mr. Musk said.

“That limited our production severely world-wide,” he said.

Given strong U.S. demand, most vehicles built at Tesla’s lone U.S. facility in California went to satisfy domestic buyers, the company said. European demand, Tesla said, is outpacing supply. The company said its plant in China now serves as its main vehicle-export hub.

Tesla, which delivered nearly half a million vehicles to customers last year, reiterated plans to boost that figure by more than 50% this year. However, it said growth would depend on factors including equipment capacity and supply-chain stability. Supply-chain challenges and factory upgrades caused minor interruptions in Shanghai, Tesla said.

Analysts expect Tesla to continue to be able to increase output, forecasting around 231,000 vehicle deliveries for the current quarter.

Tesla, in the quarter ended June 30, also has had to grapple with other issues. Tesla poured $1.5 billion into bitcoin earlier this year and briefly accepted the cryptocurrency as payment for its vehicles. It hit pause in May over concerns about the energy used to power bitcoin mining.

Tesla sold some of its bitcoin holdings in the first quarter. The company on Monday said the book value of its digital assets stood at $1.31 billion, down from $1.33 billion in the prior quarter, as it took a $23 million impairment on its bitcoin holdings. The price of the cryptocurrency fell substantially in the second quarter, but was up sharply Monday.

Tesla has said it revalues its bitcoin holdings quarterly, taking a write-down if the price of bitcoin falls below what the company paid to acquire the asset. The company can only recognize gains if it sells.

And container-shipping prices have jumped as some countries have eased coronavirus-related lockdowns and companies rushed to rebuild inventories. Tesla only has assembly factories in the U.S. and China and ships vehicles to other markets.

Other costs also are on the rise. The price of the raw materials used in a typical vehicle in the U.S. was roughly 79% higher, on average, in the second quarter than in the same period a year earlier, according to Bank of America Global Research.

After months of delays, Tesla introduced its redesigned Model S luxury sedan to potential customers. The upgraded electric vehicle, priced starting around $130,000, is meant to jolt interest in an increasingly crowded market. Photo: Tesla

Tesla’s financial results have long been bolstered by the sale of regulatory credits to rival auto makers that need them to comply with emissions-related rules. The company took in $354 million in regulatory credits during the second quarter, down from $428 million in the year-ago period.

Tesla shares were up around 1% in after-hours trading after closing around 2% higher Monday. The stock has shed roughly a quarter of its value since reaching a record level in late January, underperforming the broader market as regulatory scrutiny over vehicle safety has intensified and electric-vehicle competition has heated up around the world.

Tesla’s Model Y compact sport-utility vehicle was the most popular all-electric vehicle in the U.S. in the first half of the year, accounting for roughly a third of sales in the category, according to Cox Automotive. But car buyers have a growing array of plug-in options to choose from, thanks to the introduction of models such as Ford’s Mustang Mach-E sport-utility vehicle and

Volkswagen AG’s

VOW -0.64%

ID.4, and Tesla’s share of the market is slipping. Tesla doesn’t break out vehicle deliveries by individual model or region.

Competition is intensifying. Last week,

Mercedes-Benz AG

DMLRY 0.86%

said it would slash investments in combustion engines and plug-in hybrid technologies as it prepares to go all-electric by 2030.

To stay ahead, Tesla is building new factories and advancing a program to produce battery cells in-house. It is also working to refresh its higher-end models, which had suffered from flagging sales in recent years.

Luxury vehicles generally are more lucrative for auto makers. The company started delivering a souped-up version of its luxury sedan known as the Model S Plaid last month. A revamped Model X sport-utility vehicle also is in the works. As of last week, the company’s website estimated that new orders would be available early next year.

Tesla said Monday that it planned to build its first vehicles assembled in Germany and Texas by the end of the year.

The company, meanwhile, has added to services it offers on a subscription model. Tesla recently introduced an option that allows drivers to access an upgraded version of its advanced driver-assistance system for $199 a month, compared with $10,000 to buy the suite of features upfront. The move lowers the barrier to entry for customers while positioning the company to take in a steadier flow of income.

Mr. Musk, who also runs Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and has, at times, complained about his workload, said he would step back from regularly participating in Tesla’s quarterly earnings calls.

Chip Shortage’s Toll on Auto Industry

Read more coverage on the world’s computer-chip shortage, selected by the editors.

Write to Rebecca Elliott at

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