Tesla's 3Q loss widens, but shares rise on production

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla Motors' net loss more than doubled to $229.9 million in the third quarter as expenses and research costs rose and vehicle prices dipped slightly.

But investors cheered the news that the Palo Alto, California-based electric car maker expects to meet or exceed its target of producing 50,000 vehicles this year. Tesla shares rose more than 10 percent in after-hours trading.

Tesla's loss, of $1.78 per share, compares to a loss of 60 cents per share in the July-September period a year ago.

Tesla said it delivered 11,603 vehicles in the third quarter, slightly ahead of its forecast and up from 7,785 in the same period a year ago. Among those were a handful of new Model X SUVs, which the company delivered to the first customers at the end of September. Tesla said the average selling price of its other vehicle, the Model S sedan, declined slightly because it began offering a lower-priced variant with a smaller battery.

Revenue rose 10 percent to $936.8 million. Tesla said its operating expenses rose 43 percent during the quarter and included $52 million in stock-based compensation. Research and development costs declined from the second quarter as the Model X and Tesla's new semi-autonomous Autopilot system went on the market, but they were up 32 percent from the same quarter a year ago. Tesla said its fourth vehicle, the lower-priced Model 3, is on track for an unveiling in late March.

The company also spent $392 million on capital projects, including expanding its Fremont, California, factory for Model X production and continuing construction of its battery factory near Reno, Nevada. The company recently started making batteries at the factory for its Tesla Energy home battery business.

Tesla says unadjusted figures do not reflect its true performance because accounting rules limit how it records revenue for leases. On an adjusted basis, the company lost 58 cents per share. That fell short of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research, who forecast a loss of 53 cents.

Tesla Motors Inc.'s adjusted revenue of $1.24 billion beat analysts' forecast of $1.21 billion.