Tesla Misses Earnings, But Comes Close On Deliveries

(The Washington Post) -

Luxury electric carmaker Tesla Motors missed revenue and earnings projections in its second-quarter investors’ report, as the company fell short on its goals for churning out new cars.

Total revenue was $1.3 billion, short of estimates of $1.6 billion but still up 10 percent from the previous quarter, according to the report, that was released Wednesday. Overall, the company posted a $293,000 loss in the quarter.

The company reported an adjusted loss of $1.06 per share; analysts were expecting the loss to be 60 cents.

“They’re such a future company that people take these earnings reports with a grain of salt,” said Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis for Edmunds. “People want to know what they’re going to do in five to 10 years, not every quarter.”

The company came close to car-delivery projections, an area investors were closely watching after Tesla executives blamed “hubris” a quarter ago for badly missing their deliveries mark.

Tesla wanted to deliver 17,000 vehicles in the second quarter — a number analysts doubted after previous shortcomings. Tesla instead delivered 14,402 vehicles, as it showed progress toward the company’s goals.

“Production and demand are on track to support deliveries of approximately 50,000 new Model S and Model X vehicles during the second half of 2016,” company executives wrote in a note to investors Wednesday.

Analysts said that they can excuse production problems now as long as the company gets on track by the time subsequent models are set to be produced by the hundreds of thousands.

“Fourteen thousand instead of 17,000 isn’t that big of a deal,” Caldwell said, “but if you say 500,000 and you’re not even close, that is a problem.”

Tesla shares were up almost 2 percent in after-hours trading.

Tesla is facing new challenges as it continues to build its business.

Federal regulators recently launched a probe into a crash that killed a Tesla Model S driver in May. The company’s semi-autonomous “Autopilot” mode was on during the crash.

Musk also proposed combining the solar panel company SolarCity, a firm that he also chairs, with Tesla to double down on renewable energy generation. This week, the companies agreed to a $2.6 billion merger.

The company opened its battery “gigafactory” outside Reno, Nevada, in July. Musk also released his second “master plan” for the carmaker, in which he announced that the company would begin developing autonomous urban transportation vehicles and a fleet of autonomous ride-sharing cars.

And Tesla’s autonomy sensor supplier, Mobileye, announced in July that it would break with Tesla and would no longer supply sensors as Musk pushes toward higher degrees of autonomy.

“Unfortunately or fortunately, Tesla can’t sneeze without there being a national headline,” Musk said on the call.