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Tesla Guides for 50% Growth in Deliveries

Elon Musk automaker reports first annual profit, though fourth-quarter earnings miss expectations.
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Tesla Inc  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report  said it sees deliveries growing at least 50% in 2021, while it reported fourth-quarter earnings below estimates after the bell Thursday.

The company posted fourth-quarter non-GAAP earnings of 80 cents a share on revenue of $10.74 billion.

In the latest quarter, the company had been expected to report a profit of $1.02 a share, on sales of $10.5 billion, based on a FactSet survey of 20 analysts.

In the same period a year ago, the company posted earnings of 42.8 cents a share on sales of $7.4 billion.

While the earnings missed expectations, they did cap the first full calendar year of profitability for Elon Musk’s electric vehicle maker. 

Tesla didn't provide specific deliveries guidance for 2021, but said it expects 50% average annual deliveries growth "over a multi-year horizon." The company added that "In some years we may grow faster, which we expect to be the case in 2021."

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Tesla delivered just under 500,000 vehicles in 2020, suggesting that it sees this year's numbers topping 750,000. Analysts are looking for deliveries of 800,000 vehicles in 2021, Bloomberg reported. 

The stock has risen 109% since the company last reported earnings on Oct. 21.

Tesla’s China operations contributed significantly to the year’s performance, as its Shanghai Gigafactory ramped up production quickly after coming online early in the first quarter of 2020. The China operation contributed  nearly a third of Tesla’s  deliveries in 2020. The plant is being expanded and has begun manufacturing Tesla’s Model Y SUV. 

The Model Y is expected to become the company’s best selling vehicle by 2022. Total deliveries of all vehicles are expected to surpass 1 million in 2022, according to Bloomberg.

The company's electric pickup truck is expected to begin deliveries in the second half of 2021. Tesla said its semi truck will also begin delivery in 2021 and that it expects production to begin at its new gigafactories currently under construction in Austin, Texas and Berlin.  

Tesla's success in electric vehicles has drawn a slew of wannabe competitors including Nikola  (NKLA) - Get Nikola Corporation Report, Hyliion HYLN and Lordstown Motors  (RIDE) - Get Lordstown Motors Corp. Class A Report. Shares of those three all surged Tuesday morning after President Joe Biden said he wants the federal government to eventually shift to all-electric vehicles. While Nikola shares gained 11.47% on the day, the other two stocks fell along with the broader market to end  lower.

Shares of Tesla fell $40, or 4.6%, to $824.16 in after-hours trading. In the regular session, the stock fell 2.1% amid a broad market selloff that saw the Dow Industrials lose more than 600 points.