Amid ongoing supply chain constraints, production delays in China and increasing competition from the old auto industry, Tesla just reported third quarter results (PDF), in which the company said it earned $3.3 billion in net revenue on $21.4 billion in revenue. That represents a 56 percent year-over-year increase, compared to revenue of $13.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021. The company said it had free cash flow of $8.9 billion.
The earnings report follows a somewhat disappointing manufacturing and delivery report in which Tesla said it has delivered 343,830 vehicles to customers in the past three months. That was about 20,000 less than the 364,660 vehicles Wall Street analysts had expected for the quarter.
Tesla acknowledged that the rush to make as many vehicles as possible at the end of each quarter created a bottleneck that made deliveries difficult to manage. “We are reaching such significant delivery volumes in the final weeks of each quarter that transportation capacity is becoming expensive and difficult to secure,” the company said in a note to shareholders. A “smoother delivery pace” will lead to better cost savings, Tesla added.
“Transport capacity is becoming expensive and difficult to secure”
Tesla says it is experiencing headwinds from increased raw material costs and inefficiencies at its Gigafactory Berlin. A strengthening dollar also affects Tesla’s overseas sales, hurting profitability. Tesla also reiterated the news that after years of waiting, it will begin delivery of the semi-deliveries in December, bringing the first major electrical installations for Pepsi into operation.
It’s the first earnings report since Tesla’s AI Day, when CEO Elon Musk unveiled a prototype version of a humanoid robot that he claimed will one day sell for $20,000. And it comes amid Musk’s controversial and chaotic takeover of Twitter, which may or may not go ahead.
With distractions piling up, investors hope Musk and his executive team can meet all of their year-end goals, including 50 percent annual growth. But doubts also pile up, as do distractions.
“For Musk, patience in the eyes of investors is extremely thin as the long-term view,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note to the Q3 earnings report on Tuesday. “And robot talk isn’t what the street cares about right now in this white-knuckle period of market turmoil.”
The unrest in China continues to weigh on Tesla’s earnings.
Other analysts were more blunt. “Tesla’s terrible quarter is the latest sign that growing macroeconomic uncertainty is having any impact on demand for its electric vehicles,” said Jesse Cohen, senior analyst at Investing.com.
The unrest in China continues to weigh on Tesla’s earnings. Even as covid-related shutdowns became less frequent, heatwaves gripped the country, forcing officials to close factories, including Tesla.
Tesla has other ways of making money than selling cars. The company recorded $286 million in emissions credit sales to other automakers this quarter, compared to $344 million in credit sales in the second quarter of 2022. The company generates this revenue by selling these credits to automakers that make fewer “clean” vehicles than required. is by the US government and the European Union. Last quarter, Tesla said it sold 75 percent of its Bitcoin, bringing in nearly $1 billion in additional revenue.
Culturally, Tesla is still very much going through it. Here’s an incomplete list of examples of Tesla going through it in the past three months:
- There were more accidents involving Autopilot and more deaths, and the company earned the award for the most road deaths by the US government. Tesla was charged with misleading customers about the capabilities of its driver assistance technology.
- Cybertrucks deliveries have been delayed until mid-2023, and oh yeah, it’s getting more expensive.
- The company’s AI head is gone, as are about 200 Autopilot engineers. Tesla fired 10 percent of its employees, including hourly workers, after Musk said he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy.
- Regulators and safety advocates (Ralph Nader!) started talking more explicitly about the dangers of Tesla’s fully self-driving driver assistance technology. Tesla fans are doing reckless things with it, such as threatening to run over children. Meanwhile, FSD is now used by more than 150,000 people and costs $15,000 to buy.
- Musk unveiled the Tesla robot, also known as Optimus, at the company’s AI Day event. Robot experts were not impressed.