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Tesla reaches milestone with first $1B quarterly profit

Tesla Model 3
Posted at 5:32 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 17:32:42-04

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) -- Tesla's quarterly profit has surpassed $1 billion for the first time thanks to the electric car pioneer's ability to navigate through a pandemic-driven computer chip shortage that has caused major headaches for other automakers.

The financial milestone announced Monday extended a two-year run of prosperity that has erased questions about Tesla's long-term viability raised during its early years of losses and production problems.

Tesla now has cemented its position as the leader in the shift away from gas-combustion that is expected to make it even more profitable than during its most recent quarter.

The Palo Alto, California, company earned $1.1 billion, or $1.02 per share, in the April-June period. That was more than 10 times its profit at the same time last year. Revenue nearly doubled from last year to about $12 billion.

Tesla now boasts a market value of roughly $630 billion, far more than any other automaker and 14 times more than what the company was worth just two years ago. Its mercurial CEO, Elon Musk, is now sitting on the world's third largest fortune at an estimated $163 billion, according to Forbes magazine's calculations.

For all its recent success, Tesla's momentum could still be slowed by a persisting shortage of chips that have become vital parts in modern cars. While other major automakers had to dramatically curtail production during the first half, Tesla so far has been able to secure an adequate supply of chips to churn out vehicles at the fastest rate in its history.

In the most recent quarter, Tesla delivered more than 206,000 vehicles within a three-month span for the first time in its history. It is also gearing up to add another sports utility vehicle, the Model Y, to its lineup later this year.

But in a sign that Tesla isn't immune to the shortage in chips and other components that is hurting its rivals, the company disclosed that it will delay the introduction of a highly anticipated semi truck to some time next year. Its original plan was to introduce it this year.

Tesla also warned that the availability of parts will determine whether it will be able to maintain the first-half production pace that raised hoped the company will be able to manufacture more than 800,000 vehicles this year. That would be a significant increase from nearly 510,000 last year, when government restrictions during the early stages of the pandemic forced the company to temporarily shut down its California factory.

The uncertainty may have dampened some of the investor response to Tesla's surprisingly strong quarterly results. The company's stock gained more than 2% in extended trading Monday after the second-quarter numbers came out. The stock has fallen about 25% from its peak price reached six months ago.