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Why Tesla Shares Jumped 50% Last Year

By Howard Smith – Jan 9, 2022 at 10:45AM

Key Points

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Tesla navigated supply chain issues better than other automakers did in 2021 -- and sold nearly 1 million electric vehicles as a result.

What happened

2021 was a rough year for many manufacturers, as businesses were forced to navigate cost increases and supply chain constraints. Electric-vehicle (EV) leader Tesla (TSLA -0.94%) handled those issues and thrived. As a result, its business continued to grow, and investors pushed its shares up 49.8% in 2021, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. That jump came after a torrid year for the stock in 2020, when shares rocketed more than 700%. Many investors are now wondering whether the stock will continue rising in 2022. 

So what

Tesla finished the year strong, reporting more than 308,000 vehicle deliveries in the fourth quarter. That brought its 2021 total deliveries to 936,172, representing an 87.4% increase over 2020. When the company reports its full-year 2021 results, investors will probably hear that revenue for the year exceeded $50 billion. And the business is profitable. Net income through the first nine months of 2021 was nearly $3.2 billion. Investors are now looking forward to new catalysts on the way. 

Tesla Cybertruck with the back gate down.

Tesla is expected to begin producing its Cybertruck when its Austin, Texas, facility opens soon. Image source: Tesla.

The company should begin production this year at both of its two new facilities in Austin, Texas, and near Berlin, respectively. The Texas plant will be the first to begin making the Cybertruck. Widely followed Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives believes the Austin plant will begin production as soon as next week, reports Barron's

Now what

2022 looks to be the first year that Tesla won't be the only big game in town. Competition from traditional automakers and EV startups is coming online. Ford, for example, has already begun selling its Mach-E SUV in the U.S. and China at a starting price that competes with Tesla's midsize Model 3 sedan. And startups including Lucid Group and Chinese EV maker Nio are bringing luxury electric sedans to market in 2022 that customers might prefer over the Model S. 

But those startups have yet to prove they can manufacture vehicles at scale. Tesla itself recently was forced to recall 475,000 vehicles for issues including potential front hood latch and camera problems. 

It may be the traditional manufacturers that are converting from internal combustion to electric-powered vehicles that bring the biggest competitive threat to Tesla in 2022. But the market for EVs looks set to grow in accordance with the increased availability of new offerings.

It remains to be seen how investors will continue to value Tesla stock. But with two new plants beginning production, and the introduction of the Cybertruck, Tesla's business looks like it should have another big year of growth in 2022. 

Howard Smith owns Lucid Group and Nio. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Nio and Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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