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Tesla’s Third Quarter Results Mix Bad With Good


2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

2012 Tesla Model S beta vehicle, Fremont, CA, October 2011

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For Tesla Motors fans, owners and investors, this morning’s third-quarter earnings call was a mixture of bad news and good news. First, the bad news: the start-up automaker lost $110.8 million in the third quarter, compared to losses of $65.1 million in the third quarter of 2011.

While the loss was slightly more than analysts had predicted, it was offset by good news, too. Production of Model S sedans ramped up at the close of the third quarter, with Tesla building some 100 copies per week. Today, that rate has doubled, with Tesla building 200 Model S sedans weekly, or 10,000 units annualized.

By the end of the year, Tesla expects to double production again, reaching a weekly output of 400 cars. That number is significant, since it’s also the tipping point for Tesla to achieve positive cash flow.

Green Car Reports says the automaker has plenty of cash reserve, ending October with over $100 million in the bank. A stock offering generated an additional $222 million, giving Tesla over $300 million to pay the bills until the company is in the black.

Reservations for Model S sedans grew from 11,500 to 13,200 in the third quarter, and Tesla is now expanding its marketing push to Europe, which is expected to further boost reservations in the fourth quarter.

As the Associated Press reports, the news was good enough to boost Tesla stock by 91 cents per share, or 3.2-percent. If Elon Musk is able to execute on his commitments for the fourth quarter, we expect Tesla stock to climb even further when the Q4 results are announced.
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