Tesla's Q3 Results Mixed

Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) reported third-quarter 2012 earnings this morning. For the quarter, the electric car maker posted a net loss of $0.92 per share on revenues of $50 million. In the same period a year ago, the company reported a net loss of $0.55 per share on revenues of $57.7 million. These results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for a net loss of $0.90 per share and $48.3 million in revenues.

On a GAAP basis, the carmaker lost $1.05 per share, compared with a year-ago quarterly loss of $0.63. The larger net loss year-over-year is due primarily to ramping costs for sales. Revenues, however, doubled sequentially.

In a letter to shareholders, the company's CEO and CFO said:

The third quarter was a fundamental turning point for Tesla as we successfully transitioned to a mass production car company, growing from manufacturing 5 cars per week at the beginning of the quarter to 100 cars per week by the end. That rate has doubled since last month and is now at over 200 cars per week or 10,000 cars per year, which is at the critical threshold needed for Tesla to generate positive operating cash flow. One month from now, we expect Tesla to double production again and achieve the target rate of 400 cars per week or 20,000 per year. Despite many short term costs associated with the ramp, Tesla nonetheless expects to get approximately halfway to the 25% gross margin target by end of year.

Gross margin in the third quarter was a -17%. The company delivered 253 of its Model S sedans and 68 Roadsters during the quarter.

Tesla reiterated its fiscal 2012 revenue guidance of $400 to $440 million, and the company's expectation of delivering 2,500 to 3,000 Model S sedans to customers in the fourth quarter. The company also reaffirmed its 25% gross margin target by the end of next year, based on delivery of 20,000 vehicles.

Tesla's shares are trading up nearly 2% this morning at $29.46 in a 52-week range of $22.64 to $39.95. The consensus target price for the shares was around $35.70 before today's report.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Alternative Energy, Autos, Earnings, Green Biz Tagged: TSLA