Tesla Lost $34.9m In Q3, Dropped $103m Year-To-Date
California EV maker Tesla has reported its Q3 results, and they’re a sizable helping of not great. But before we dive into the messy reality, let’s check in with CEO Elon Musk for an unreasonably rosy take on the loss:
We are very pleased to report steady top-line growth and significant growth in gross margin, driven by the continued improvement in Roadster orders and our growing powertrain business. Roadster orders in this quarter hit a new high since the third quarter of 2008, having increased over 15% from last quarter. While some of this is due to seasonal effects associated with selling a convertible during the summer months, we are pleased with the global expansion of the Roadster business and the continued validation of Tesla’s technology leadership position evidenced by our new and expanding strategic relationships
Translation: Toyota is investing in us… now get out of here with your awkward questions. Unfortunately for Mr Musk, it isn’t quite that simple…
What Musk leaves out is, well, there’s a lot he leaves out. For one thing, Tesla managed to lose only $4.6m in Q3 of 2009, so these latest results are a disaster when compared year-over-year. And the picture is even worse for year-to-date results: Tesla has lost $103m so far this year, over three times the $31.5m loss accrued in the first three quarters of last year. And even using Musk’s generous comparison to Q2 2010, Tesla’s operating loss actually widened (on massively increasing operating expenses), and was offset only by an increase in “other income.” And no surprise: automotive sales revenue was nearly half its Q3 2009 level.
UPDATE: Elon Musk tells the San Jose Mercury News that
attaining quarterly profitability isn’t a goal… We’re very focused on long-term profitability.
So… mission accomplished. Except that making profit on a blue-sky luxury electric sedan is typically a long-term (to say nothing of expensive) proposition. And the Model S won’t be the only green luxury game in town come 2012. But then, that kind of negative thinking has a history of not bothering Musk. If and when it starts affecting Tesla’s stockholders, things could get ugly.
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- FreedMike Needs a few more HP to really spice things up...
- Oberkanone Absolute insanity on our public roads! A danger to society. Bravo Dodge!
- Lou_BC Cool car but 35k USD?
- Lou_BC I've owned and ridden many litre class sport bikes. Those bikes render anything on 4 wheels boring. This is cool but even if I had the cash, it would be a hard pass.
- Jeff S Some of us don't care either way we are not into this type of car. Most of these will be stored in garages waiting for their value to go up. As someone above noted this is an old body style which is retro 70s Challenger which after researching it came out in the 2008 MY which means a long run for a model that is in its 16th year. I have always liked these but if I bought one I would not spend this kind of money on one probably get the V-6 version and use it as a family car but then I am not into drag racing or muscle cars. For the type of car it is it has a decent rear seat and not too bad of a trunk. Most of us are not going to spend 100k for any vehicle at least currently so its not something most of us will buy and stick in a garage waiting for its value to increase. I am glad that these editions came out for those who can afford them and it keeps a little more color into what has become a very dull vehicle market but then with age I pick the dull appliance like reliable vehicle because that's what I need. Impressive car but not for me.
Their operating profits increased, which is a good thing. Their financial situation improved compared to 2009. They had a 34M loss because their Research and Development costs increased by 20 folds. Please compare apples with apples. Maybe they could make a profit from this research.