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1 Sign Tesla Might Crush Its Guidance This Year

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Tesla management guided for deliveries to grow around 50% this year. But what if actual growth was well beyond this?

Tesla (TSLA -0.18%) provided investors with an impressive outlook for 2022 when it reported fourth-quarter results in late January. Even in the face of global supply challenges, the electric-car maker said in its fourth-quarter earnings call that it expects deliveries this year to increase at a rate that's 'comfortably above 50%.'

This is particularly impressive when investors consider that this is on top of 87% growth in 2021. So much for a tough global-supply environment slowing down the automaker.

But what if I told you there's a good reason to believe that Tesla could potentially grow its deliveries at a rate that's well over 50% in 2022? While this may not sound believable to investors who aren't following the company closely, an outcome like this is becoming increasingly plausible.

Tesla factory. Image source: The Motley Fool.

Berlin: Tesla's big catalyst

On Tuesday, Tesla delivered the company's first vehicles from its new factory located just outside of Berlin, Reuters reported. With the factory designed to produce 500,000 vehicles per year after production has been ramped up to full capacity, the plant will increase the company's year-end 2021 manufacturing capacity by nearly 50%.

If you're thinking this is where Tesla's planned 50%-plus increase in deliveries is expected to come from, think again. 'We continue to drive for vehicle volume growth at or above 50% ... and our plans show that this is actually achievable with just our Fremont and Shanghai factories,' said Tesla chief financial officer Zach Kirkhorn during Tesla's fourth-quarter earnings call.

It turns out that Tesla's existing factories in California and Shanghai have been running below their capacities because of supply and logistical challenges, leaving plenty of room for upside this year.

With Tesla's European factory coming online during the first quarter of 2022, the odds are good that deliveries this year will grow at a rate well beyond 50%.

Even more, investors should note that Tesla's Germany factory isn't the company's only planned new facility this year. The electric-car maker is simply waiting for final certification for its factory in Austin to start building vehicles there, as well -- and capacity at this new factory should be similar to Tesla's Berlin factory.

The fine print

All of this said, Tesla did warn investors in its fourth-quarter shareholder letter that there are no guarantees. 'The rate of growth will depend on our equipment capacity, operational efficiency and the capacity and stability of the supply chain,' management said in its fourth-quarter update. 'Our own factories have been running below capacity for several quarters as supply chain became the main limiting factor, which is likely to continue through 2022.'

But despite Tesla's warnings, chances are that 50%-plus growth is in the cards for the company this year. Management has been surprisingly conservative regarding its full-year guidance recently, and 2022's guidance is likely similarly conservative.

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