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Tesla Gigafactory Delay Complicating Tesla’s Worsening Financial Woes

Maker likely to blow through at least a third of its cash.

by on Aug.09, 2016

Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Barely two weeks after Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk led a tour of the company’s new Gigafactory, it turns out that battery plant is running both late and likely over budget – something that is expected to worsen an already troublesome financial situation for the battery-carmaker.

Intended to be the world’s largest lithium-ion plant, the Gigafactory is already set to begin partial operation, and Musk last week boasted of plans to eventually boost output far beyond the original plans. But Tesla now says it spent nearly $120 million to prep the facility during the first half of the year with costs for all of 2016 expected to balloon to $520 million.

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That’s one reason the carmaker’s cash reserves are fast on the decline. In fact, Tesla said it will have to lay out $1.1 billion, or about a third of its cash, during just the third quarter of this year. And with plenty of work left both on the Gigafactory and on the development of the Model 3 sedan, the financial pressures on the company are expected to grow more severe –especially in light of its unexpectedly sharp second-quarter loss.

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Tesla Losses Mount as Sales Fall Short

CEO Musk insists production getting back on track.

by on Aug.03, 2016

Tesla CEO Musk with an image of the troublesome Model X which missed production targets.

Burdened by a slower-than-expected roll-out of its Model X sedan, with sales overall falling short, Tesla Motors delivered an unexpectedly deep loss for the second quarter of the year.

The automaker, which has been using its own accounting procedures, said it lost $293 million, or $2.09 a share, for the April to June quarter. Excluding special one-time items, the loss narrowed to $150 million, or $1.06 a share. But that was still well below Wall Street’s expectations, analysts predicting the maker would lose $0.65 a share.

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The maker tried to put a positive spin on the weak performance by looking forward. “Production and demand are on track to support deliveries of approximately 50,000 Model S and Model X vehicles during the second half of 2016,” CEO Elon Musk and CFO Jason Wheeler said in a joint statement announcing the earnings.

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Tesla Model 3: Hit or Hype?

Advance reservations pass 250,000 -- but will they actually translate into sales?

by on Apr.04, 2016

Tesla says the base Model 3 will get 215 miles per charge - and start at $35,000.

Even before the new Model 3 sedan was unveiled late last Thursday, Tesla Motors said it had logged more than 100,000 advanced orders. And as of the following Monday morning, the Silicon Valley carmaker claimed the figure had topped 250,000 – a number that would translate into more than $10 billion in retail sales.

The surge of interest is unprecedented in the auto industry, resembling more the sort of frenzy that has greeted the launch of a new Apple iPhone. But at this early stage, at least 18 months before the first car is scheduled to roll off the assembly line, can the new Tesla Model S be considered a hit, or a case of battery-powered hype?

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That’s a question which few industry observers seem to agree upon. Investors have clearly been impressed, driving Tesla’s stock price up by over $15 a share since the hours before the electric sedan’s unveiling. That run-up comes despite the warnings issued by some key analysts.

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Tesla Beats Forecast – Still Loses $75 Mil in Q3

Investors rally despite loss.

by on Nov.03, 2015

The third quarter saw the long-awaited, and long-delayed, launch of the Model X battery SUV.

Tesla Motors managed to beat analysts’ forecasts for the third quarter, but still delivered an adjusted, $75 million loss for the third quarter, or 58 cents a share. Nonetheless, that was two cents better than what was expected, according to S&P Capital, sending Tesla stock up in after-hours trading.

The net loss, using more conventional GAAP procedures, came to $229.9 million for the July to September quarter, or $1.78 a share, compared with a $74.7 million deficit, or 60 cents a share, a year earlier.

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The announcement comes at a critical time for Tesla. The maker just launched its second product line, the Model X battery-electric SUV. And it has begun rolling out its new AutoPilot system which permits semi-autonomous freeway driving. But the maker also took some recent hits from a key consumer group over ongoing reliability problems.

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Tesla Deliveries Fall Short as EV Maker Cuts Outlook

But overall loss slightly less than expected.

by on Aug.05, 2015

Despite two price hikes, Tesla saw a jump in Model S orders - but cut its full-year forecast.

Tesla had some mixed news for investors as it revealed its second-quarter results Wednesday afternoon. The maker’s loss was less than anticipated by industry analysts, but the maker fell short of expected vehicle deliveries and cut its forecast for the full year.

The news sent the California battery-carmaker’s shares tumbling in after-hours trading. A critical test in the coming months will be the long-overdue roll-out of the Model X sport-utility vehicle, which Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk acknowledged was “challenging.”

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“Some things are particularly challenging,” he said during a conference call with media and analysts, “But I think it’s going to be the best vehicle in the world and I think it’s going to blow people away.”

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Tesla Plunges Deeper into the Red

China problems take their toll.

by on Feb.12, 2015

Low gas prices have also been taking a bite out Tesla's stock price in recent weeks.

However you count the numbers, it wasn’t a good quarter for Tesla Motors.

The Silicon Valley battery-carmaker has been embroiled in controversy for its use of non-standard accounting practices that, critics say, make its balance sheet look a good bit better than it might with more traditional bookkeeping. But there was no way to perfume Tesla’s weak fourth-quarter performance, when it sank $107.6 million, or 86 cents a share, into the red.

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That was $74.7 million more than it run up in losses during the same period in 2013, in part due to problems selling all the vehicles it produced at the end of the year. The maker did hit its production target of 35,000 vehicles for all of 2014, but ran into trouble finding a home for all those Model S sedans. China was a major part of that problem.

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Battle With Times Cost Tesla $100 Million, Says CEO

“A few 100” orders cancelled, but stock takes big hit.

by on Feb.26, 2013

Tesla CEO Elon Musk shown with the Toyota RAV4-EV that uses his company's powertrain.

While Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk claims the battery-car maker came out on top in its battle with the New York Times over a critical review, he also claims the bitter dispute wound up costing Tesla “a few 100” lost sales and as much as a $100 million hit to its stock valuation.

The February 8th story in the Times claimed the Tesla Model S sedan driven by reporter John Broder ran out of power during a drive from Washington, DC to Boston, forcing Broder to load it on a flatbed to reach a charging station so he could complete the trip.

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In a noisy he-said/she-said dispute, Tesla CEO Musk provided information from the Model S sedan’s onboard data recorder which appeared to suggest the reporter made mistakes along the way that resulted in the battery-car running out of power early. A statement from the Times acknowledged Broder may not have used “especially good judgment,” though it also insisted Tesla made some mistakes, as well.

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Tesla Posts $90 Mil Q4 Loss – But Moves Up Profit Forecast

Model S production rapidly accelerating - but will demand follow?

by on Feb.21, 2013

Finally, there may be a reason for Tesla Founder and CEO Elon Musk to be smiling.

Shortly after traders finished the day, Tesla Motors revealed another loss for the fourth quarter of 2012 – but the electric vehicle maker also said it now expects to be “slightly profitable” during the first three months of this year, well ahead of its earlier forecast of clawing into the black by “late 2013.”

The maker has been ramping up production of its first relatively mainstream battery-car, the Model S, after a slow start and won at least a partial victory, just before the earnings announcement, as the New York Times conceded it may have fallen short in a critical review of the Model S.

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In a federal filing, Tesla revealed it lost $89.9 million during the October to December period, an increase of just over 10% compared to the year-earlier loss of $81.5 million.  Revenue, however, increased from $39.4 million to $306.3 million as Tesla finally ramped up production of the new battery sedan. For the full year, Tesla lost $396.2 million on revenue of $413.3 million. It lost $254.4 million the year before on $204.2 million in revenue.

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Tesla Downplays Earnings Shortfall

Maker reveals $40 million in advance orders for Model X CUV.

by on Feb.16, 2012

Earnings down but prospects good, says Tesla as it reports $40 mil in advance orders for the Model X.

How do you judge a company that is still months away from launching its first truly significant product?  That’s the question that drove after-hour traders into a frenzy when Tesla Motors reported its financial results for 2011.

On the down side, Tesla revealed a full-year loss that was worse than originally anticipated, reflecting the heavy investment as it prepares to launch both its Model S battery sedan and the Model X crossover that will follow a year later.  More upbeat was news that revenues rose for the year, driven by sales of the limited-volume Tesla Roadster and by the alliances the maker has formed with both Toyota and Daimler AG.

Meanwhile, Tesla also reported that within 24 hours after revealing the Model X, last Thursday evening, it had already netted $40 million in advance sales for the battery-electric vehicle more than a year before it comes to production.

“When you introduce a product that is really groundbreaking and innovative, you don’t necessarily know how customers are going to react to that, and they reacted incredibly well,” said Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk, during a conference call to discuss the company’s latest news.

In a letter to shareholders, meanwhile, Tesla revealed it has started a development program with Daimler to develop a new electric vehicle program for the German company’s Mercedes-Benz brand. A Tesla-powered version of the Toyota RAV4 is, meanwhile, due to market later this year.

Those alliances helped drive 2011 revenues up by 75%, to $204 million, for all of 2011.  Revenues for the fourth quarter increased 9%, to $39 million.

But the maker lost $264 million for the year, or $2.53 a share, with the loss for the fourth quarter pegged at $81 million, or $0.69 a share.  That was almost 5% higher than the consensus estimate of $0.64, which triggered some frantic ups-and-downs in after-hours trading after Musk’s late Wednesday conference call.

But while some investors are clearly worried about Tesla’s ability to translate its headline-grabbing power into actual sales and earnings, others are more upbeat.  That includes Deutsche Bank analyst Rod Lache, who pointed to the maker’s cash reserves of $493 million – which includes $304 million it can still tap into from a Department of Energy loan.

That, said Lache, “is more-than-sufficient to reach 2013 (so) we continue to believe that Tesla is uniquely positioned to succeed as a new automaker.”

With the Model S due to arrive this year, Tesla is projecting it could nearly triple revenues for the year, to somewhere between $550 million and $600 million, most of that increase coming in the final months of 2012.

So far, the maker says it has taken 8,000 reservations for the Model S, and another 500 for the Model X, each with $5,000 downpayments.

Meanwhile, the maker is reportedly working on a third model line to follow sometime around mid-decade.

Tesla Boosts Revenues, Trims Losses In Third-Quarter

Battery car maker claims Model S on track for 2012 launch.

by on Nov.10, 2010

Tesla's future hangs on the launch of the Model S sedan, which it confirms for 2012.

For a company with only one model nearing the end of its life to sell California battery-car start-up Tesla Motors remains charged up.  The maker announced a 10% increase in revenues for the third quarter, along with a big jump in its margins.  But while losses were trimmed, it remains well in the red, the battery car maker revealed.

Tesla, which has lately been signing a spate of joint ventures and other alliances, also says it remains on track to bring its second model, the 7-seat Model S sedan, to market for a 2012 launch.

“We continued to garner high-profile endorsements of our industry-leading technology and electric powertrain systems,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk declared in a prepared release.

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The company reported a net loss for the third quarter of $34.9 million, down from $38.5 million during the second quarter of 2010.  Revenues, however, increased 10%, to 31.2%, while Tesla claimed an improvement in margins from 22% to 30% between the second and third quarters.

The key to the improved numbers was a 15% increase in sales of the Tesla Roadster, the two-seat sports car the maker launched in 2008.  It marked the strongest demand for the Roadster in two years, reflecting Tesla’s push into overseas markets.  The company now claims to have sold 1,300 Roadsters in 31 markets.

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