Electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors Inc reported a net loss of US$75 million for the third quarter, nearly twice as much as the previous year, on revenue of US$852 million.
However, the earnings, announced on Wednesday after the markets closed, were better-than-expected, helping to raise the company’s stock in after-hours trading.
The company, which unlike other automakers does not release monthly sales figures, said it delivered a record 7,785 Model S sedans in the third quarter, up 42 percent from the same period a year ago.
However, it reduced its overall sales forecast for this year to 33,000 vehicles, about 2,000 less than its previous estimate.
The company also announced that it was delaying the date for when its new sport utility vehicle, the Model X, would hit the market.
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said the Model X’s delay until the third quarter of next year was tied to “getting the details right,” and he cited the challenges of ramping up the mass production of any new vehicle.
Tesla is sticking to its prediction of producing about 100,000 vehicles a year by the end of next year and aims to be selling half a million electric vehicles by 2020 — an ambitious forecast that has helped drive the company’s stock price higher and raised its market capitalization to more than half that of General Motors Co.
“Hitting 500,000 sales a year is an awful difficult nut to crack when you have yet to sell 50,000,” Kelley Blue Book executive market analyst Jack Nerad said. “Ironically, as a manufacturer transitions from a niche player toward higher volumes, many things get more difficult instead of easier.”
Tesla’s new battery factory in Nevada, known as the Gigafactory, is critical if Tesla hopes to reach its production goals.
The company said the battery plant, which received state tax breaks topping US$1 billion, was ahead of schedule, but still two to three years away from opening.
Musk, in a conference call with investors on Wednesday, brushed away any notion that other inventors would somehow get ahead of Tesla.
“Everyone and their mom is approaching us about technology improvements,” Musk said. “Talk is super cheap.”
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