Elon Musk's electric car maker Tesla reports record loss but outlook is positive
Electric car maker Tesla has notched up its biggest ever quarterly loss and said it “learned many lessons” from its crucial Model 3 production plans.
The firm’s future hangs on the Model 3 sedan, but it has so far struggled with production bottlenecks.
Tesla reported a loss of $675.4m (£487m) in three months to 31 December, compared with $121.3m a year earlier.
But it said revenues rose to $3.29bn, up from $2.28bn, and that it was addressing Model 3 production issues.
“At some point in 2018, we expect to begin generating positive quarterly operating income on a sustained basis,” Tesla, which is yet to make a profit, said on Wednesday.
Despite ongoing production bottlenecks, the electric car maker said it would continue to target Model 3 production rates of 2,500 by the end of the first quarter this year, and 5,000 by the end of the second quarter.
However, it added a caveat that “our prior experience on the Model 3 ramp has demonstrated the difficulty of accurately forecasting specific production rates at specific points in time.”
The Model 3 went on sale in the US last year priced at $35,000. It is a medium-sized car which Tesla describes as its most affordable, and hopes it will have a mass market appeal.
It is significantly cheaper than Tesla’s current models – the Model X, an SUV, and the Model S, a sporty saloon, both priced at more than $70,000.
Analysts said first impressions of the company’s results were upbeat. “No further delays in Model 3 production anticipated should be taken positively,” said Efraim Levy from CFRA Research.
Investors were not as confident however and the company’s shares dipped in after-hours trading.
Tesla was founded in 2003 and is controlled by entrepreneur Elon Musk, who also owns the space rocket firm, SpaceX. It has 330 store and service locations worldwide.
Last March China’s Tencent Holdings bought a 5% stake in the firm for almost $1.8bn.