It's been a roller-coaster year for Tesla (TSLA 3.71%) investors. The stock started the year at around $1,200 per share. But then the automaker's share price plummeted to levels well below $800. Today, the electric car maker's stock price sits just below $1,000. Much of this volatility is indicative of the significant uncertainty regarding the company's prospects -- particularly in the near term. A factory shutdown in Shanghai amid government-enforced COVID-19 restrictions means the company's production rates are taking a hit, and no one knows the exact impact.
Fortunately, Reuters reported on Friday that the company is scheduled to resume operations at its factory in China on Monday. But it wouldn't be surprising to see a slow ramp-up back to previous production levels since third-party supplier involvement is needed, too.
Investors, of course, are hoping for some answers when Tesla reports its first-quarter results on Wednesday. How quickly does the automaker expect its Shanghai factory to return to pre-shutdown production levels? Does Tesla still have a shot at living up to its full-year guidance for vehicle deliveries?
It's fair to say, therefore, that any outlook the company provides for full-year vehicle deliveries will be the most important topic for investors to watch when Tesla reports earnings this week.
Tesla's current guidance
As of the electric car maker's last quarterly update, management said in its earnings call that it expects to grow deliveries in 2022 at a growth rate "comfortably above 50%." This outlook is particularly impressive given the global semiconductor shortage and other supply chain challenges the auto industry has been facing. Further, this growth rate is on top of an astounding growth rate last year: Tesla's 2022 deliveries increased 87% year over year.
But at the time that Tesla management provided this guidance, management had expected its Shanghai factory to be operational throughout the entire year.
Why Tesla may maintain its guidance
While a three-week shutdown at the company's factory in Shanghai certainly increases the odds of Tesla having to reduce its full-year outlook for vehicle deliveries, there's still a chance that Tesla can live up to its original outlook. This argument boils down to the company's new factories in Germany and Texas. At the time of the automaker's fourth-quarter update, management said that it could likely achieve growth greater than 50% without any contribution from these new factories. But since that report, both factories have come online -- and both could morph into substantial production-volume drivers for Tesla.
We'll find out whether management thinks it can still hit its target soon. Tesla is scheduled to report its first-quarter results after market close on Wednesday, April 20.