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Tesla Delivers a Record 308,000 Vehicles in the Fourth Quarter

The company delivered over 900,000 cars in 2021 despite the global chip shortage.

Chip shortage? What Chip shortage?

Tesla (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report delivered a record 308,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter, a record for the electric vehicle (EV) company. That caps a year in which the company delivered over 936,000 vehicles.

Model 3 and Y made up the vast majority of the EV-markers deliveries accounting for  296,850 deliveries in Q4 and 911,208 for the year. Model S and X production accounted for the rest of the vehicles delivered.

Even with the company hitting a record, Tesla noted that the actual numbers might be higher.

Our delivery count should be viewed as slightly conservative, as we only count a car as delivered if it is transferred to the customer and all paperwork is correct. Final numbers could vary by up to 0.5% or more. Tesla vehicle deliveries represent only one measure of the company’s financial performance and should not be relied on as an indicator of quarterly financial results, which depend on a variety of factors, including the cost of sales, foreign exchange movements, and mix of directly leased vehicles.

Tesla delivered just under 500,000 vehicles in 2020.

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Why Is the Chip Shortage Not Hurting Tesla?

A number of automakers have slowed production of certain vehicles or even stopped entirely because of the global chip shortage. CFO Zach Kirkhorn explained how the company has been able to do that in his remarks in the company's third-quarter earnings call.

"I want to thank our supply chain team for their incredible work and our production teams for showing impressive flexibility as we make adjustments in real-time," he said. "This team's expertise in the chip industry across all tiers has made a huge difference when managing through these challenges. Additionally, we never reduced our production forecast with our suppliers as we're adding capacity as quickly as possible."

Tesla' Growth Plans for 2022

Kirkhorn acknowledged that Tesla's production has not been without its hiccups. He made it clear that continued growth requires continually refining the process.

"Despite these increases in production and generally higher prices, our backlogs are continuing to grow and average customer wait times are extending," he said. "The only practical way to address this in the immediate term is to do everything we can to build more cars on our existing production lines, which is where we are focused."

Tesla is also close to producing its first cars in its new factories in Austin and Berlin.

"It's important to stress, while the first production car is an important milestone, the hardest work lies ahead in the ramp," the CFO explained. " Please keep in mind that we are pushing the boundaries on new product and manufacturing technologies at these factories, which makes it difficult to predict the exact pace of the ramp."