Despite the still unsolved crash of a Tesla, the company’s earnings hit record highs in the first quarter of 2021. Rebecca Elliott reports for The Wall Street Journal:
Tesla Inc. TSLA -4.26% posted a record quarterly profit despite supply disruptions, fueled by rising deliveries and increasingly broad-based demand for electric vehicles.
The Silicon Valley car maker has enjoyed booming sales, driven by both its popular Model Y compact sport-utility vehicle and sustained demand in China. The company also has benefited from the wider embrace of plug-in cars as governments across the world push to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles, in some cases through subsidies.
“We’ve seen a real shift in customer perception of electric vehicles, and our demand is the best we’ve ever seen,” Chief Executive Elon Musk said Monday on an investor call.
Tesla on Monday said revenue in the first quarter jumped around 74% from the same period a year earlier to $10.4 billion. The company generated a $438 million net profit, up from $16 million a year ago. Wall Street on average expected the company to report sales of about $10.5 billion and net income of around $509 million for the January through March period, according to analysts surveyed by FactSet.
Tesla said it delivered 184,877 vehicles in the first three months of the year, more than double the number during the same period a year earlier. The company, which delivered nearly half a million vehicles in 2020, reaffirmed it expects that figure to rise more than 50% this year.
The company’s strong financial start to the year comes as it faces challenges on other fronts. Federal auto-safety officials are investigating the fatal fiery crash of a Model S sedan earlier this month in Texas. Neither of the victims was found in the driver’s seat, local officials have said. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s probe of the wreck is one of more than two dozen investigations of crashes involving Tesla vehicles.
The crash left questions about whether or how the vehicle could have been operating without anyone in the driver’s seat.
A Tesla executive said the company was working with local and federal authorities to investigate what happened.
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