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Tesla Shareholder Letter trumpets 2012 triumphs

Tesla’s 2012 Shareholder Letter reads like a bundle of good news for EV fans, but the bean counters on Wall Street are less impressed.


Tesla’s 2012 Shareholder Letter reads like a bundle of good news for EV fans, but the bean counters on Wall Street are less impressed.

Deliveries of the Model S electric sedan began in June, and 3,100 units had rolled off the line by the end of the year (in Q4 2,750 cars were built with 2,400 delivered to customers). The company seems to have allayed fears that it wouldn’t be able to ramp up production quickly enough, claiming that production is now “reliably at an annualized rate of 20,000 units per year.”

New reservations continue to roll in – orders stood at over 15,000 at the end of 2012. CEO Elon Musk told analysts this week that next year’s planned production of 20,000 units is already sold.

Tesla is building its own network of “stores and galleries” (don’t call them dealerships – this offends some auto dealer groups, which have filed lawsuits against the company), and it opened eight new ones in North America during the fourth quarter. At year end, Tesla had 32 of these – er, facilities around the world, and plans to open 15 to 20 more in 2013, half of them in Europe and Asia.

Following the launch of its Supercharger network in California, Tesla opened the first two Superchargers on the East Coast in Q4, and more are planned for 2013. Customers are “enjoying the speed and convenience of charging for free during road trips,” and the company is enjoying a tidal wave of publicity courtesy of the New York Times, which published a poorly-thought-out negative review of the new Superchargers.

And now for the bottom line. Total revenue skyrocketed to $306 million as the production line cranked up to full speed. Tesla sold most of its remaining Roadsters, and earned $12 million from its deals to supply powertrains to Mercedes (for the B-Class EV) and Toyota (for the RAV4 EV). The company made a bold prediction of turning a profit in the first quarter of 2013.

While all this sounds wonderful for EV lovers, from Wall Street the results look decidedly mixed. Revenue was higher than analysts were expecting (306 vs 298 million), but the quarterly loss was greater (65 cents a share vs an expected 53 cents a share). Tesla stock (NASDAQ: TSLA) closed down on Wednesday, and has slipped more early Thursday.

Not all industry observers are impressed at this point. InsideEVs is skeptical about the pace of future reservations, and notes that Tesla’s cash stash is getting low, and that delivery of the entry-level 40 kWh Model S  is not expected to begin until “later this summer.”


Souce: Tesla, InsidEVs

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