Tesla reaches profitability, quiets naysayers

2009 tesla roadster sport 001

2009 tesla roadster sport 001

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Tales of the financial success of a carmaker are rare enough these days, much less tales of an upstart electric vehicle maker. But according to Tesla's latest news, the company has reached profitability against all odds.

Fulfilling a promise made back in June, the company's claims of profitability come on the back of strong sales in July, realizing $1 million in earnings on $20 million in revenue. The profitability came, as expected, from the bigger margin of the new Roadster 2 (not to be confused with the more powerful Roadster Sport pictured here).

Shipping 109 vehicles in July drove income up, allowing Tesla Motors to reach overall corporate profitability. That phrase - overall corporate profitability - is carefully repeated throughout the Tesla Motors press release, however, looking suspiciously like a carefully-worded way to make a claim that's not, at leas in plain-speaking terms, completely true.

We don't know what Tesla's books look like, however, so we can't say they aren't profitable, but it's safe to say that sales of 109 cars priced at $109,000 doesn't equate to $20 million in revenue, so at least part of the picture isn't being fully revealed.

Tesla's CEO, the oft-snarky Elon Musk, had this to say of the profitability achievement: "We achieved a bottom-line profitability thanks to a tremendous amount of hard work by the Tesla team to improve quality, while simultaneously reducing costs on the Roadster.

"This also shows that there is strong demand for a car that is unique in offering high performance with a clean conscience. Moreover, customers know that in buying the Roadster they are helping fund development of our mass market electric cars."

The true test of Tesla's carmaking mettle will come with the next-gen Model S electric sedan. If the company can make that car an affordable, mass-produced reality while still turning a profit, the critics won't have much of a leg to stand on.
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Comments (6)
  1. Anyone know if they have an IPO plan in the works? Seems like they were going to go public as of a year ago and there seems to be no word. Little bit of cash could help them out more beyond a few investors.

  2. Cool, cool, i really want Tesla to succeed.

  3. Amazing!
    If only Tucker had it so good...

  4. Not so fast kids, don't forget their receiving bail out money just like the big three. More smoke and mirrors if you ask me...

  5. I thought the DOE cash might have played a role in it, too, "mywheelsonwalls", but according to reports, that wasn't taken into account at all: http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=154552

  6. Good show Tesla. Hope that their sedan will also be a hit. It may be the first mass produced American BEV with large sales nationwide. The Big-3 are a few years behind.

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