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Tesla posts its worst quarterly loss ever, but Model 3 should lead a turnaround in 2018

Published Feb 7th, 2018 4:37PM EST

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Earnings season is in full swing and Tesla a short while ago posted its earnings results from the recent December quarter. When the dust settled, Tesla posted a loss of $675 million for the quarter, a rather significant increase from the $121 million loss it posted during the same quarter a year ago, and the worst profit figure the company has ever recorded.

That notwithstanding, Tesla did manage to exceed Wall St. expectations on a few fronts. For starters, quarterly revenue checked in at $3.29 billion, a tad higher than the Wall St. consensus of $3.28 billion. And though Tesla posted a huge loss, it wasn’t as bad as many analysts were anticipating.

Interestingly enough, Tesla’s press release (which can be read in full over here) reveals that the company may finally start generating a profit sooner rather than later.

At some point in 2018, we expect to begin generating positive quarterly operating income on a sustained basis. With the planned ramp of both Model 3 and our energy storage products, our rate of revenue growth this year is poised to significantly exceed last year’s growth rate. The launch of Model 3 is what Tesla had been building towards from day one. We incorporated all the learnings from the development and production of Roadster, Model S, and Model X to create the world’s first mass market electric vehicle that is priced on par with its gasoline-powered equivalents – even without incentives. Now we are ramping up production significantly, and as we look ahead in 2018, we are on the cusp of a step change in the world’s transition to sustainability.

Financial figures aside, the big takeaway from Tesla’s earnings report is that the company is not pushing back its Model 3 production timeline. In other words, Tesla still maintains it will be able to manufacture upwards of 5,000 Model 3 units per week by June of this year. Recall, Tesla originally told investors it would meet the 5,000/week threshold by December of 2017.

As it stands now, Tesla notes that it plans to reach a Model 3 production rate of 2,500 units per week by the end of March.


Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.