Tesla Motors Inc. posted $11.2 million in net income for the first quarter of 2013, its first ever quarterly profit. This is in contrast to the $89.9 million net loss reported in the same period in 2012. Excluding some items, Tesla’s profit was 12 cents per share in the first three months of 2013, compared with a loss of 76 cents per share in the same period last year.
It was also enough to surpass the 4 cents-a-share profit average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The carmaker logged a huge jump in first-quarter revenue from $30.2 million in 2012 to $561.8 million.
The huge jump is attributable to strong sales of the Tesla Model S in the period, at around 4,900 units. It surpassed the company’s forecast of 4,500 for the first three months of 2013. The feat prompted Tesla to update its 2013 full-year sales forecast to reflect an increase to 21,000 Model S deliveries from 20,000.
In a statement, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk and Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja remarked that they exceeded their own target for deliveries, adding that "2013 is off to a strong start." Tesla has been counting on the Model S to provide it with its first profit.
A large part of the Tesla’s revenues in the first quarter came from $68 million in zero-emission vehicle credits sold to other carmakers. Without those credits, the carmaker would have logged $57 million in net losses for the first quarter of the year. During a conference call, Musk discounted the ZEV credits as a one-time gain, saying that they will drop to nearly zero by yearend as market demand for the credits becomes saturated by the end of the third quarter.