Tesla's volatile Q4 couldn't dampen its record setting year

"Tesla is actually one of the world's leading AI companies" - CEO, Elon Musk.

Shannon Stapleton / reuters

Between its ongoing supply chain constraints, brutal rounds of layoffs and a plummeting stock price, the past year has been a glass case of emotion for Tesla and its embattled CEO, Elon Musk. Still, the company managed to produce nearly 440,000 vehicles and delivered over 405,000 of them — year over year increases of 47 and 40 percent, respectively — Tesla announced on Wednesday during the Q4 2022 earnings call. Those are both records for Tesla, as was the full-year deliveries of 1.31 million. Profits for the year totaled $12.6 billion.

"Despite the fact that 2022 was an incredibly challenging year due to forced shutdowns, very high interest rates, and many delivery challenges," Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, said during the call. "It's worth noting that all these records were in the face of massive difficulties. a credit to the team for achieving that."

The final quarter of 2022 was especially volatile for the electric automaker following the finalization of Musk's Twitter acquisition in late October. While the billionaire sought to split his attention between his EV company, his spaceship company and his new social media platform, Tesla shareholders revolted, furious that the automaker had lost some $620 billion in market capitalization that year. Musks antics at Twitter combined with his sale of Tesla stock to fund the acquisition sent the EV company's ticker tumbling, resulting in drastic price cuts — by as much as $20,500 in some cases. This, in turn, saw customers in China, angry that they had just purchased their vehicles at a higher price, raid Tesla showrooms to demand answers and restitution.

"The most common question we've been getting on investors is about demand," Musk said. "I want to put that concern to rest. Thus far in January, we've seen the strongest orders here today then ever in our history, we currently are seeing orders at Almost twice the rate of production."

"It's hard to say whether that will continue at twice the rate of production," he continued. "Orders are high and we've actually raised the Model Y price up a little bit in response to that. We think demand will be good despite, probably, a contraction in the automotive market as a whole."

Those price cuts will continue into the new year. "In the near term we are accelerating our cost reduction roadmap and driving towards higher production rates," the company announced Wednesday. "In any scenario, we are prepared for short-term uncertainty, while being focused on the long-term potential of autonomy, electrification and energy solutions."

Musk also discussed recent developments regarding the company's "Full Self-Driving" beta ADAS during the call. "As of now we've deployed FSD beta to... roughly 400,000 customers in North America," he said. "Our published data shows that improvement in safety statistics is very clear. So, we would not have released FSD beta if these safety statistics were not excellent."

Despite the turbulence, Tesla continues to expand its regional production capacities. In January, the company announced its $3.6 billion investment in two new factories, one of which will produce the long-awaited, repeatedly-delayed Semi electric 18-wheeler. The company aims to produce 1.8 million vehicles in total this coming year.

This article contains affiliate links; if you click such a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission.