Tesla's Q3 had steep losses, predicts rapid revenue gains for Q4 and beyond
As Tesla Motors transitions from electric vehicle visionary to a mass production automobile manufacturer, many are wondering whether the company will make it financially. It has been decades since the last successful automaker startup in the U.S. With Monday's release of 2012 third quarter results to shareholders, the company claims it is successfully making this transition, that by December the company's production rate will be high enough to generate positive operating cash flow, and that by the end of the year the production rate will be twice that level. The company has a long list of other good news to share including awards and new show-rooms.
The company's financial status is most critical to anything else that Tesla Motors might achieve. It doesn't matter how beautiful is the company's vision, if they can't generate enough profit to pay for the company the vision will crumple.
Q3 revenues were $50 million, an 88% increase over 2012 Q2. The company attributes this to deliveries of the Model S (253 deliveries) as well as sales of the remaining Roadsters (68 sales) being sold outside the U.S. They also received revenue from Toyota for powertrains on the GenII Toyota RAV4 EV. Development progress on the electric drive train for the Mercedes Benz EV is on schedule, and generates a bit of revenue.
While revenue growth is great, R&D expenses alone ate up that revenue. Total loss for the quarter (GAAP basis) was $111 million.