Tesla's Q1 revenue more than doubles, but net loss grows 17%
Electric-car maker Tesla reported quarterly revenue that more than doubled, but the automaker's net loss during the first quarter widened to $330 million.
The company on Wednesday said it posted record deliveries of its Model X crossover and Model S sedan, helping revenue grow to $2.7 billion from $1.15 billion.
The company's net loss grew 17 percent from the $282 million it lost during the same quarter last year. It also lost $121 million during the final quarter of 2016.
Tesla, menawhile, backed its target of launching its highly anticipated mass-market Model 3 sedan later this year, and said the car was on track for initial production in July.
Weekly production of the car will reach 5,000 units at some point in 2017 and 10,000 per week at some point in 2018.
News that the Model 3 is on track lends support to Tesla’s high-flying share price, which vaulted the company’s market value past General Motors and Ford Motor Co. last month. While many investors are long on Musk, short interest also represented more than a quarter of shares available as of the company’s latest quarterly filing, underscoring just how divisive the company has become.
“Tesla has always been a very polarizing story,” Cole Wilcox, CEO of Longboard Asset Management, said in an interview before the earnings release. “As an investor, that’s what I look for -- in order to win, someone has to lose.”
Tesla shares closed down 2.5 percent to $311.02 on Wednesday. On a per-share basis, the company's loss was $1.33 a share. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had projected a loss of about 82 cents.
“Tesla’s 69 percent sales increase versus first quarter 2016 sales was impressive, but it doesn’t change the fact that a flawless launch of the Model 3 is critical to the company’s future success," said Jack Nerad, executive editorial director at Kelley Blue Book. "Based on its market capitalization, the expectations for Tesla are sky-high and the time is coming when investors will expect to see not only sales but profitable sales.”
Model 3 ramp-up
The rollout of the Model 3 sedan will give an indication of how much the enigmatic Musk learned from mistakes made with the Model X crossover. First introduced in late 2015, the Model X was marred by design changes, parts shortages and build problems.
Tesla has said that the Model 3 is “designed for manufacturing.” Musk took to Twitter in March to call Model 3 “just a smaller, more affordable version of Model S,” with “less range & power & fewer features.”
The Model 3 is expected to start at $35,000 before options or incentives, with a battery range of at least 215 miles per charge. The first vehicles made will go to employees of Tesla and SpaceX, Musk’s space exploration company.
“Right now it’s all about execution on the Model 3 ramp and proving that they can manufacture in high volumes,” Wilcox said. “Tesla had a lot of troubles with the Model X, but they’ve simplified the Model 3.”
The results announced Wednesday reflect the first full quarter that includes solar panel installer SolarCity, which it bought last year.
Bloomberg, Reuters and Automotive News contributed to this report.