Tesla Crushed Every Expectation in 2021, Kicking off Elon Musk’s ‘Roaring 20’s’

Tesla has managed to double sales every year since 2019 despite global supply chain issues.

A Tesla Model X on display at the 3rd China International Import Expo (CIIE) at the National Exhibition and Convention Center on November 5, 2020 in Shanghai, China. Guo Zhihua/VCG via Getty Images

Despite Elon Musk’s dramatic stock selloff that briefly put a dent in Tesla’s share price in the final weeks of 2021, the company proved to investors that its core business remained solid. On Sunday, the electric carmaker reported record quarterly and full-year earnings that easily beat Wall Street expectations.

Tesla delivered 308,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter and 936,000 vehicles in 2021, which almost doubled the total shipment of 2020. Analysts had expected the company to deliver around 270,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter and 897,000 vehicles for the full year.

Tesla shares jumped more than 9 percent Monday morning on the news, pushing the company’s market cap to $1.17 trillion.

The vast majority (90 percent) of Tesla’s 2021 deliveries were Model 3 and Model Y. The company reports combined delivery numbers for its higher-priced vehicles (Model S and X) and lower-priced Model 3 and Y vehicles. It doesn’t break out sales or production numbers by region.

“Great work by Tesla team worldwide!” Musk tweeted Sunday.

“This was a ‘trophy case’ quarter for Musk & Co. with massive momentum moving into 2022,” Wedbush’s Daniel Ives, a top Tesla analyst, tweeted Sunday.

Since turning a profit for the first time in the third quarter of 2019, Tesla has managed to double shipments every year—despite a global chip shortage that has slowed down manufacturing for other automakers for the better part of the past two years. Still, Musk has set a lofty goal for Tesla to ramp up production to 20 million electric vehicles a year by 2030. That’s 20 times what it made last year. “Let’s make the roaring 20’s happen!” the CEO tweeted Sunday.

To achieve that, Tesla plans to start production of the Model Y crossover at a new “gigafactory” in Austin, Texas this year and open another factory in Brandenburg, Germany near Berlin.

For the near term, Wall Street is optimistic that Tesla can double sales again in 2022. “Can Tesla do [two million] units in 2022? At this point we’d still describe 2mm as a stretch target but one that looks far more realistic following 4Q deliveries,” Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a note on Monday. “We believe that fully ramped, the addition of Berlin and Austin will take the Tesla global installed capacity to closer to 3 million units.”

Jonas cautioned that continued global supply chain challenges may dampen this outlook. Also, as more startups and legacy auto brands enter the EV market, Tesla is expected to lose some of its market share in the years to come. In the high-end sector, Tesla faces competition from already hyped models such as Lucid Air and Porsche Taycan, as well as luxury EVs by Mercedes and Audi. In the mass market, the Model 3 and Model Y will be challenged by offerings from Volkswagen, GM and Ford, not to mention a crop of well funded Chinese EV startups that are increasingly eating away Tesla’s market share in China, its largest overseas market. Tesla Crushed Every Expectation in 2021, Kicking off Elon Musk’s ‘Roaring 20’s’