Tesla “Disappoints” with 42 percent Growth

October 20, 2022

Tesla posted “disappointing” numbers for the third quarter. If this is disappointing, would love to see what a good report would be.


The company had previously reported it delivered 344,000 cars in the third quarter, a record for the company, and up 42% from a year ago. But it would have needed to deliver another 495,000 cars in the fourth quarter in order to hit the 50% growth target.

Telsa still has a fraction of the sales of established automakers. But it is by far the most valuable automaker in the world, worth more than the 10 largest automakers in terms of sales volumes. Its rapid pace of growth is one of the things driving that lofty stock valuation.

The company is still “looking forward to a record-breaking Q4,” CEO Elon Musk said on a call with investors Wednesday. “So it really, knock on wood, it looks like we’ll have an epic end of year.”

The Verge:

For a guy who once said he wasn’t going to be on many future earnings calls, Elon Musk has a hard time staying away. 

Last night, Tesla reported its third quarter earnings, and Musk was front and center, making boastful claims about his company’s future (bigger than Apple and Saudi Aramco), dropping hints about Tesla’s next vehicle platform, hyping the much-delayed Cybertruck, and even offering some commentary on his on-again, off-again deal to buy Twitter. 

Musk defended the company’s performance despite missing delivery and revenue expectations amid fears of softening demand for Tesla’s vehicles. 

“We have excellent demand for Q4 and we expect to sell every car that we make for as far as the future as we can see,” Musk said defiantly. “So the factories are running at full speed and we’re delivering every car we make and keeping operating margins strong.”

But forgot these Wall Street-centric platitudes. Let’s talk about cars! And trucks! And robot cars! Yeehaw!

Tesla’s next big product launch, the Cybertruck, won’t be until next year, with Musk reiterating that production won’t start at the Texas Gigafactory until at least mid-2023. “We’re in the final lap on Cybertruck,” he said.

“Yeah, that car’s gonna be sick,” Musk said. “Hall of famer. Next level. Sorry it took longer than expected, but there were a few things that got in the way, like insane global supply chain issues.”

Tesla is also continuing to work on a robotaxi platform, with Musk saying that the company has “made a lot of progress.” Musk has said that he expects to unveil the new vehicle, which is designed to be shared as part of a car-sharing service, also in 2023. 

So next year is shaping up to be a big year for new product launches — if Musk is able to meet his self-imposed deadlines, which he has difficulty doing. 

Keep in mind that Musk has previously predicted fully autonomous vehicles in which the driver would not need to pay attention to the driving would be available en masse by 2020. This did not happen, so take his predictions about a coming robotaxi with a huge burlap bag full of salt.

Will the robotaxi be the first vehicle to be built on Tesla’s next-generation platform? It’s still unclear, but Musk did drop some hints about the cost savings the company is trying to achieve as it looks down the road toward future vehicles. 

This future vehicle “will be probably about the cost of [the Model] 3 and Y platform,” he said. “It will be smaller, to be clear. But it will, I think, certainly become — certainly exceed the production of all our other vehicles combined.”

The goal is to get to a place where Telsa can “make two cars for the amount of effort that currently takes us to make one Model 3,” Musk said. That doesn’t mean that Tesla plans on selling this vehicle for half the price of a Model 3 — only that it is designing a more efficient manufacturing process so it can make this future vehicle faster and more cost-effective. 

“We’re on a 2-for-1 target,” Musk said. “So, we’re trying to get to that 50 percent number again.”

Musk has said that Tesla will eventually have a $25,000 electric car, though the date for that keeps getting pushed. Musk likes to say everything will come out next year, so let’s stick with that.


2 Responses to “Tesla “Disappoints” with 42 percent Growth”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    As ever, stock market “disappointment” is based on expected performance. (In sports betting parlance: “Did they beat the spread?”)

    Markets should learn to base their TSLA expectations on information other than Elon Musk’s optimistic pronouncements.

  2. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Regarding former Tesla Board Member Steve Westly’s positive assessment of Tesla: Beware of major stockholders bearing bullish predictions.

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