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Tesla Earnings to Follow Layoffs and Price Cuts

01 February 2019

Excluding items, Tesla earned $1.93 per share.

The Silicon Valley electric carmaker said it made a net profit of US$139.5 million in the three months ended December 31, compared with a US$311.5 million profit in the third quarter, when it benefited from regulatory credits.

More changes are afoot in the Tesla lineup after the partial demise of the $7,500 federal tax credit prompted the electric automaker to cut prices and further simplify the model range. On Wednesday, the company sought to reassure investors that the manufacturing woes are over.

During a conference call Wednesday to discuss Tesla's second-straight profitable quarter, CEO Elon Musk said the company has ordered the tooling needed to start production of the Model Y battery- electriccrossover.

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The company said it expects to be producing about 7,000 vehicles per week at its factory in Fremont, California, by the end of the year. Total deliveries for the quarter were 90,700, also falling short of some estimates on Wall Street.

"It is critical that we continue this trend so that we can keep increasing the affordability of Model 3 while retaining a sustainable level of profitability", the company said. As we saw with the Model 3 unveiling, it could be some time for the truck to make it to production and into driveways. The roll-out for what Tesla calls V3 technology to enable faster charge times is also underway and to be expected "early this year". Tesla's staff had increased by 30% in 2018, which Musk said was more than the company could support as it seeks to reduce costs. Investors keep a close eye on Tesla's cash stores because the company has hundreds of millions of dollars in debt payments due in the coming months.

However, the company said in its statement announcing results Wednesday that it expects to have positive GAAP net income and free cash flow in every quarter beyond the fiscal first quarter of 2019.

No timeline for its production was offered, but Musk has previously said it looks like something from "Blade Runner" and will have several first of their kind features.

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Based on management's previous commentary, results for the fiscal first quarter could also come in soft. Though the decision apparently isn't final, Musk predicted that the vehicle would be in volume production by late 2020.

Musk said Tesla is also focused heavily on improving service operations in North America after reports of poor customer service and fix delays.

To post a profit, Tesla will have to "successfully execute on many fronts including handling logistics and delivery challenges in Europe and China", the company said.

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Tesla Earnings to Follow Layoffs and Price Cuts