Tesla stock sees worst year ever

Tesla stock dropped by around 65 per cent between January-December 2022 (Getty Images)
Tesla stock dropped by around 65 per cent between January-December 2022 (Getty Images)

Tesla stock is set to close 2022 at a $700 billion loss since the start of January, marking the worst ever year for the world’s most valuable automaker.

The share price of the electric car firm crashed to its lowest level since August 2020 this week amid fears about production delays in China, as well as concerns that CEO Elon Musk has been distracted by his recent purchase of Twitter.

The losses leave the electric car maker’s market cap below $350 billion, having been valued above $1.23 trillion just over one year ago. To put this in context, this loss is more than the combined value of all other car makers globally.

On Tuesday alone, Tesla’s share price fell by more than $16, representing nearly $52 billion in market cap – more than Mr Musk paid for Twitter in October.

The extent of the capitulation has also pushed Tesla out of the top 10 most valuable companies, while also stripping Mr Musk of the title of world’s richest person due to the amount of equity he retains in the company.

The losses have even led some investors and market analysts to speculate that Mr Musk will be forced into a margin call.

“Not much left before Elon gets margin called and the stock goes into a death spiral,” wrote US entrepreneur and investor William LeGate on Twitter. “Investors are scrambling to get out while they still can.”

The latest losses follow news that Tesla’s Shanghai factory will be forced to reduce production in 2023, having already slowed its output in 2022 due to Covid restrictions and lockdowns in China. Other bad news for the world’s biggest car manufacturer includes a new law in California that will ban Tesla from advertising its vehicles as ‘fully self-driving’.

“Mr Musk is viewed as ‘asleep at the wheel’ from a leadership perspective for Tesla at the time investors need a CEO to navigate this Category 5 storm,” Webush tech analyst Dan Ives wrote in his latest newsletter. “Instead Musk is laser-focused on Twitter which has been an ongoing nightmare that never ends for investors.”

The Independent has requested comment from Tesla.

Mr Musk, who has sold billions of dollars worth of Tesla share this year to finance his takeover of Twitter, claimed earlier this month that the losses could be attributed to external factors.

“In simple terms: As bank savings account interest rates, which are guaranteed, start to approach stock market returns, which are *not* guaranteed, people will increasingly move their money out of stocks into cash, thus causing stocks to drop,” he tweeted.

Tesla’s losses in 2022 are more than double that of the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which is down roughly 34 per cent.