During Tesla’s Q4 2021 earnings call on Wednesday, CEO Elon Musk said the company won’t introduce any new models or start producing the Cybertruck, Semi or Roadster in 2022, saying that launching a new car “wouldn’t make any sense.” This confirms a rumor from earlier this month that said the Cybertruck would be delayed yet again. Instead, Tesla’s main focus for 2022 will be scaling output of its existing cars, with the new Gigafactories in Texas and Berlin already having started production.
Musk said that if Tesla were to introduce any new cars this year, its total production output would decrease, and thus, profits would decline. That’s the same reason no new cars were introduced in 2021 — the resources needed to come out with a new model would take away from Tesla’s ability to produce its popular Model 3 and Model Y EVs at max capacity. The ongoing global supply chain issues that have been plaguing the car industry for years, especially when it comes to microchips, are a major problem for Tesla. “If we had introduced a new car last year, total vehicle output would have been the same because of the chip constraints,” Musk said, adding that fewer vehicles would actually be delivered due to the complexity of launching one.
When it comes to the Cybertruck specifically, Musk said that battery cells aren’t a limiting factor when it comes to production, but that the truck has “a lot of technology to work through.” Musk added that Tesla is having a tough time keeping the Cybertruck’s price low, wondering “How do we make the Cybertruck affordable?” The Cybertruck was originally supposed to start at around $40,000.
There’s somewhat of a silver lining, as Musk added that Tesla will be starting engineering and tooling on the Cybertruck, Semi and Roadster in 2022, with the aim to begin production on those models “hopefully next year.” But that’s dependent on if Tesla is able to produce “more cars or fewer cars,” as maximum profits and deliveries are the goal. Musk also said the most important product it’s developing this year isn’t a car, but the humanoid robot it previewed last year that’s now called Optimus.
Tesla did have a majorly successful fourth quarter in 2021 with over $1 billion in revenue. But as Musk said, that profitability is in part because no new cars were introduced and the brand focused on its most successful vehicles. Production of the more affordable Model 3 and Model Y was up by 79% compared with last year, while the Model S and Model X were down by 19% — the introduction of the overhauled Plaid variants and the subsequent delays likely impacted that.