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Tesla losses grow as it transitions to Model S production

July 25, 2012|By Jerry Hirsch
  • The Tesla showroom at the Washington Square Mall in Portland, Ore.
The Tesla showroom at the Washington Square Mall in Portland, Ore. (Associated Press )

Electric car company Tesla Motors Inc. said revenue fell and losses widened in the second quarter of this year.

The company is in a key transition period, shifting from deriving its revenue from sales of just a few thousand Roadster sports cars and development work for other automakers to manufacturing and selling its Model S, Tesla’s first full production vehicle.

The automaker just began selling the Model S, an all-electric five-passenger hatchback that has received rave reviews from the automotive press.  Chief Executive Elon Musk said the company had been manufacturing just five cars a week but not has doubled production and is “ramping methodically.”

“We are maintaining our revenue guidance of $560 [million and] $600 million and our Model S volume projection of 5,000 units for 2012. We expect to deliver approximately 500 vehicles to customers in Q3 with the balance delivered in Q4,” he said in a letter to shareholders.

The car sells for between $50,000 to more than $100,000 depending on trim level and options. Tesla builds the Model S at a factory in Fremont, Calif., where it plans to also make the Model X, an electric SUV built on the same platform and sharing much of the technology, starting late next year.

For the quarter, Tesla said its losses ballooned to $105.6 million, or 89 cents a share, from $58.9 million, or 53 cents, in the same period a year earlier.  Revenue dipped to $26.7 million from $58.2 million.  Prior to the release of its results, Tesla shares closed down 89 cents, or 3%, to $28.95.

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