Tesla released its fourth quarter results report in which the business claimed it generated $3.7 billion in net income on $24.3 billion in revenue, despite flagging demand, significant price reductions, and continued controversy regarding Elon Musk’s leadership of Twitter. When compared to Q4 2021’s $2.8 billion in revenue, that is a 59 per cent gain year over year.
Additionally, Tesla’s third year ended with a profit in 2022, with a net income of $14.1 billion, up from $5.5 billion in profit in 2021 and just $721 million in 2020. On revenue of approximately $81.5 billion, Tesla generated that profit.
The figures follow a production and delivery report in which Tesla claimed it delivered 405,278 cars to consumers in the previous three months and 1.3 million cars overall in 2022, narrowly missing its target of achieving 50% growth year over year.
For Tesla, this quarter was plagued by a variety of challenges, including dwindling demand, an aged product lineup, and heightened rivalry from venerable automakers. Tesla’s stock price fell precipitously after Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, falling as much as 65% over the course of the year. According to Bloomberg, the collapse significantly reduced Musk’s personal wealth, earning him the unpleasant distinction of being the first person in history to suffer a $200 billion loss.
In the weeks leading up to the earnings announcement, analysts hailed the update as one of Musk and his company’s most significant to date.
Wedbush analyst, Dan Ives wrote in a note prior to the Wednesday earnings report stating that “After experiencing unprecedented hyper-growth over the past few years in the EV market which was essentially created by Musk, now Tesla faces a darker macro in 2023 with fierce competition coming from all angles” Ives further stated that “Adding to that backdrop is Musk who has essentially gone from a superhero with a red cape to a villain in the eyes of many investors after the ongoing Twitter fiasco has cast a dark shadow over Tesla’s stock.”
The perception of Musk as being “asleep at the wheel” and preoccupied with his acquisition of Twitter has harmed the brand’s reputation with consumers, who now have a fresh selection of EVs to pick from that aren’t Tesla.
Tesla has long been seen as a leader in the transformation of the auto industry because it leads the world in EV sales. Analysts think the company’s most recent price reductions are just the latest indication that the EV market may be approaching the “shake-out” phase, in which there are now a lot of EVs available on the market, there are reduced wait periods, and costs are dropping. Experts believe Tesla cut its prices in an effort to boost demand before the year’s end, first in China and then later in the US.
It’s not obvious, though, that price reductions will do anything to improve Tesla’s reputation if Musk stays as CEO of Twitter. According to Ives, “Tesla is Musk.” And Tesla is Musk.