The strong fourth quarter of 308,600 vehicles gave Tesla full-year sales of 936,000, up 87% from the 2020 total, and above the 900,000 mark that had been the target set by many analysts.
“Taking a step back, with the chip shortage a major overhang on the auto space and logistical issues globally these delivery numbers were jaw dropping,” Dan Ives, analyst for Wedbush Securities, said in a note to clients Sunday. He said Wall Street forecasts of 265,000 Tesla sales in the fourth quarter would have taken full-year sales to 892,000. The 900,000 sales target that Tesla easily cleared was a “best case number in the eyes of the street,” according to Ives.
Other automakers are all expected to report reduced fourth-quarter sales when they release US numbers this coming week. Tesla reports only global sales, but industrywide, global auto sales are expected to be broadly lower in the fourth quarter.
“The industry ran out of vehicles, and sales stalled in the second half,” said Charlie Chesbrough, chief economist for Cox Automotive. “Total sales in the second-half of 2021 were the slowest in a decade. Demand is healthy, but supply and production disruptions kept the industry in check. You can’t sell what you don’t have.”
So while Telsa’s share of the EV market might be declining somewhat in the face of new competition, the demand for EVs is growing even faster, allowing Tesla to continue to report strong growth.
“While there are many competitors in the EV space, Tesla continues to dominate market share as evidenced again this quarter while battling through the chip shortage,” Ives said.
Tesla has forecast that with new factories near Austin, Texas, and Berlin about to start full-scale production in 2022, it should have annual global sales growth of 50% or better for at least the next few years.