Tesla posts 4Q net loss of $89.9 million, worse than $81.5 million in 2011

Article by Anita Panait, on February 22, 2013

Tesla Motors Inc. posted a net loss of $89.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, slightly worsening from the net loss of $81.5 million in the same period in 2011. The company, however, posted an almost eight-fold increase in revenues in the fourth quarter of 2012 to $306.3 million from $39.4 million in the same period in 2011.

The jump in revenues was largely due to a huge increase in Model S deliveries in the quarter, during which around 2,400 vehicles were delivered to customers compared to 250 units in the three previous quarters. The carmaker, however, still posted a net loss in the period, no thanks to higher cost from manufacturing and supply chain inefficiencies.

During a quarterly earnings conference call Wednesday, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said that the carmaker is expecting to post a profit for the first time in the first quarter of 2013, as it strives to cut manufacturing costs and benefits from a backlog of Model S orders.

He noted that this is the very first quarter that Tesla has been at its target production rate.  Musk added that he was “cautiously optimistic” that Tesla will also post a net profit in the second quarter of 2013.

Tesla was able to post a “significant progress” in improving the efficiency of its manufacturing and supply chain, making Chief Financial Officer Depak Ahuja remark that their net profit for the first quarter of 2013 will be slightly better than breakeven.

Musk initially expected Tesla to become profitable in the latter half of 2013. According to Musk, a stable Model S production of around 400 vehicles per week, and an order bank of over 15,000 for the vehicle have made Tesla poised to deliver more than 20,000 units in 2013. Musk said that Tesla’s main focus for the first quarter of 2013 will be making its manufacturing and supply chain operations more efficient.

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