Tesla says Model 3 ramp is on track; results top expectations

Model 3 production issues are burning through Tesla's cash

Tesla backtracks after atypical conference call

He then took several questions in a row about plans for a self-driving auto network and other long-term projects from the host of a YouTube channel focused on investing, praising the questions as not boring.

The losses mount as production of the Model 3 - Tesla's first mass market auto with a starting price of $35,000 - has been dogged by manufacturing issues.

He was on a conference call responding to questions about Tesla's first-quarter results, which showed the company made a record $710m (£523m) net loss and tore through $745.4m (£549m) in cash in the first quarter of the year. That's also the level needed for Tesla to make money.

More than of the company's capital expenditure went to the "completion of work for Model 3 production capacity at Fremont and Gigafactory 1 plus payments to suppliers for tooling". Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its holdings in shares of Tesla by 1.9% in the third quarter.

Tesla said that it expects to achieve profitability in the second half of 2018, as long as it executes "according to our plans". But that didn't stop the eccentric gear head from upping his ultimate Model 3 production goal to 10,000 a week.

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"Even at this stage of the ramp, Model 3 is already on the cusp of becoming the best-selling mid-sized premium sedan in the United States, and our deliveries continue to increase, consumers have clearly shown that electric vehicles are simply more desirable when priced on par with their internal combustion engine competitors", said Tesla CEO Elon Musk and CFO Deepak Ahuja in a letter to investors. The company adds that only when it hits the 5,000-unit weekly production target will additional options for the Model 3 like all-wheel-drive and a base model with a standard-sized battery pack be offered.

Shares of the Palo Alto, California-based company were unchanged in extended trading after closing at $301.15. "(But) we've had a radical improvement in tackling production.

Tesla burned through $700 million in cash last quarter.

Musk admitted that lack of profit is Tesla's greatest failure, but remained confident that the automaker will turn that around in the third and fourth quarters as Model 3 production ramps up. It previously forecast spending of at least $3.4 billion.

Unsurprisingly, Wall Street took that about as well as you would expect and the company's shares dropped 5% during the call. The lowest sales estimate is $2.92 billion and the highest is $3.52 billion. It said net reservations for the Model 3, including configured orders not yet delivered, exceeded 450,000 at the end of the first quarter.

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The company's stock price shed almost 5% of its value during after-hours trading Wednesday.

Moody's Investor Service downgraded Tesla's debt into junk territory back in March, warning at the time that Tesla didn't have cash to cover $3.7bn for normal operations, capital expenses and debt that come due early next year. Insiders sold a total of 5,529 shares of company stock worth $1,786,841 over the last ninety days.

Tesla Inc. has had only two profitable quarters in its almost eight years as a public company.

Revenue for automotive sales reached $3.41 billion, a healthy increase from the $2.68 billion in sales Tesla did in Q1 2017.

It all comes down to one thing - the Tesla Model 3. At one point it had more than 500,000 potential buyers on a waiting list.

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Tesla "is definitely not in a minimizing cost stage", Thibault said.

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