Elon Musk thanks suppliers who 'worked late nights and weekends'

27 January 2022

Tesla boss Elon Musk has thanked suppliers for helping the carmaker maintain production throughout the pandemic. 

Speaking to investors following the release of the company’s latest trading statement, Musk said: “I'd like to just say thank you to suppliers. A lot of suppliers worked late nights, weekends, vacations around the world, and we're very grateful for that.”

Musk explained ongoing supply chain disruptions meant “it's hard to predict 2022 because there are still lingering supply chain issues globally”. 

He said: “In 2022, supply chains will continue to be the fundamental limiter of output across all factories. So, the chip shortage, while better than last year, is still an issue.

“There are multiple supply chain challenges. And last year was difficult to predict and, hopefully, this year will be smooth sailing.”

Carmarkers across the globe were hit by a shortage of semiconductor chips, which has forced a number of manufacturers to halt production. 

However Tesla previously said it was able to keep production running “as close to full capacity as possible” by using alternative chips, with its software team reprogramming them within weeks to maintain production. 

Despite challenges the company expects growth to reach “comfortably above 50% growth in 2022”.

Zachary Kirkhorn, chief financial officer at Tesla, cautioned: “From what we're seeing, the pace of growth in 2022 will again be determined by supply chain and logistics, which is quite difficult for us to forecast.”

Recent investment in semiconductor production – the US has invested $80bn in US semiconductor plants since 2021 alone – means pressures on semiconductor supply chains could “alleviate”. 

Musk said: “At least the chip side of things appears to look like it will alleviate by the end of this year or 2023. There are a crazy number of chip factories being built, which is great. The sheer number of chip factories being built right now is exciting to see.”

Global congestion at the world’s major ports also caused havoc among supply chains. The company said supply chain challenges and port congestion resulted in a “significant increase” in its expenditure costs throughout the fourth quarter. 

The company further announced it spent a total of $6.5bn to build out new factories and on “other capital expenditures.” Production will also be ramped up in its new factories in Austin and Berlin.

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