Tesla posts $3.4 billion in revenue, aims 5000 cars a week

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"That's our focus right now".

Tesla on Wednesday reported that it lost less money than the market expected and said it was making progress ramping up production of Model 3 electric cars.

When asked by an analyst on a conference call about all-important reservations for the Model 3, Musk cut him off, calling questions dry and "not cool".

He then took several questions in a row about plans for a self-driving vehicle network and other long-term projects from the host of a YouTube channel focused on investing, praising the questions as not boring.

The adjusted loss per share was US$3.35, against expectations of US$3.42 on a revenue of US$3.32 billion.

To achieve those Model 3 production numbers, Tesla will shut down its line again this quarter to make modifications, according Mr Musk. Through the vast majority of Model 3 production, including in body welding, general assembly, inverter and drive unit production, our automation effort has been very successful.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the amount of Tesla's cash burn last quarter.

Tesla faces a crucial time in its 15-year history, with the company under the gun to show it can efficiently and profitably build its first vehicle intended at high volume.

Tesla has learned from its "production hell", the start-up problems that have held up full production of the upper-middle-priced Model 3 that Musk intends to revolutionize private transportation.

In its letter, Tesla said Model 3 production hit 2,270 per week at the end of April, the third straight week that it reached over 2,000.

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Tesla's future depends on the Model 3 and the company said that it had largely overcome production bottlenecks, with Musk vowing a dramatic turnaround that would reverse losses and generate positive cash flow in just a few months.

The Model 3 starts at $35,000 (£25,700) but with options can easily cost more than $50,000 (£36,800).

Shares of the Palo Alto, California-based company were unchanged in extended trading after closing at $301.15. "We're going to scrub barnacles on that front", he said.

"We have temporarily dialed back automation and introduced certain semi-automated or manual processes while we work to eventually have full automation take back over", the company said.

Tesla burned through $700 million in cash last quarter, but its production woes appear to be easing. It previously forecast spending of at least $3.4 billion.

The giant loss in a critical quarter for the 15-year-old company was bigger than Wall Street expected. The lowest sales estimate is $2.92 billion and the highest is $3.52 billion. The company ended the quarter with a cash balance of $2.67 billion.

In March, Moody's Investors Service downgraded Tesla's debt. At the end of a year ago the company had a total of $9.5 billion in long-term debt.

He claimed that "people might actually turn it off and then die" because of the stories following two fatal crashes of Teslas on autopilot this year. Musk said the company is also working on reducing its spending this year and Tesla expects to spend less than $3 billion on capital expenses this year, compared to $3.4 billion in 2017.

It all comes down to one thing - the Tesla Model 3.