Tesla Posts Record $675 Million Loss In Q4, Model 3 Production Struggling


Records are meant to be broken, but not all records are desirable. Just ask Tesla, the electric vehicle company that just posted its biggest quarterly loss ever. While the pertinent figures are buried at the bottom of a long-winded financial report extolling the progress Tesla has made in 2017, they reveal a $675 million loss on $3.29 billion in revenue for the three-month period ended December 31.

That's up from a loss of $619 million in the previous quarter and brings the total loss all of 2017 to $1.96 billion. Tesla's latest quarterly loss also matches the entirely of 2016, when the company posted a $675 loss for the full year. Those are not the kind of figures a company or its investors like to see, though Tesla pinned the high number costs associated with producing its Model 3 electric car.

The Model 3 is billed as Tesla's affordable electric car, with a starting price of $35,000. According to Tesla, reservations for the Model 3 during the fourth quarter of last year "remained stable," and have continued to grow in recent weeks.

"We continue to target weekly Model 3 production rates of 2,500 by the end of Q1 and 5,000 by the end of Q2. It is important to note that while these are the levels we are focused on hitting and we have plans in place to achieve them, our prior experience on the Model 3 ramp has demonstrated the difficulty of accurately forecasting specific production rates at specific points in time," Tesla said.

While analysts are mixed in their reaction to another quarterly loss, Tesla is brimming with optimism. The company said it expects to begin generating quarterly profits at some point in 2018, and also expects its revenue growth to "significantly exceed last year's growth rate."

Tesla also pointed out that it opened a dozen new store and service locations in Q4, bringing the total number to 330 worldwide. This helped Tesla to more than double its service capacity in 2017. The automaker also boasted about its electric semi truck, and having developed a next-generation Roadster in stealth.

"Roadster was at the genesis of Tesla, a car that proved electric vehicles can be fast, exciting and here to stay. The new Roadster takes this concept to the next level. With 0-60 mph acceleration of 1.9 seconds and maximum speed of more than 250 mph, it will be the fastest car in the world. When that performance is combined with its 620 miles (1,000 km) of range, this supercar puts to rest any debate about the limitations of electric vehicles," Tesla added.

Tesla also expects to see "major growth" in its energy storage deployments this year. All told, the company expects 2018 to be a "transformative year" with a high level of operational scaling and a ramp in production of both Model 3 and its energy products.

"This year, we are starting a new chapter of our journey," Tesla said.