Tesla Posts Q4 Earnings, Record Revenue On Record Deliveries, Losses Continue

Tesla Model 3


Tesla previously reported its Q4 deliveries, so this release today is focused more on financials and earnings. A bit less interesting than that SpaceX launch and the Roadster in outer space, but important nonetheless.

To recap on the delivery front, which is of more interest to us than money-making or lack thereof, Tesla previously stated:

Tesla Model S

“In Q4, Tesla delivered 29,870 vehicles, of which 15,200 were Model S, 13,120 were Model X, and 1,550 were Model 3. This was once again our all-time best quarter for combined Model S and X deliveries, representing a 27% increase over Q4 2016, and a 9% increase over Q3 2017, our previous best quarter.”

“In total, we exceeded our previously announced guidance by delivering 101,312 Model S and X vehicles in 2017. This was a 33% increase over 2016.”

“In addition to Q4 deliveries, about 2,520 Model S and X vehicles and 860 Model 3 vehicles were in transit to customers at the end of the quarter. These will be counted as deliveries in Q1 2018.”

“During Q4, we made major progress addressing Model 3 production bottlenecks, with our production rate increasing significantly towards the end of the quarter. In the last seven working days of the quarter, we made 793 Model 3s, and in the last few days, we hit a production rate on each of our manufacturing lines that extrapolates to over 1,000 Model 3s per week.

2018 will surely be a delivery record year for Tesla, now that Model 3 volume and sales are increasing quite rapidly.

Our Scorecard details Tesla sales in the U.S. If those figures are of particular interest to you, then check them out here.

Moving on to financials, expectations leading up to the official announcement were that Tesla was expected to report an adjusted loss of $3.19 a share on revenue of $3.2 billion in the quarter.

Tesla’s actual reported results are:

  • Revenue of ~$3.3 billion
  • Loss of $3.04 per share (non-GAAP)
  • Loss of $4.01 per share GAAP
  • Net loss of $675 million

Comparatively, Q3 2017 results were:

  • Revenue of ~$2.9 billion
  • Loss of $3.70 per share GAAP

Some additional reported highlights include:

  • Net Model 3 reservations increasing
  • Upcoming autonomous coast-to-coast drive will showcase a major leap forward for our self-driving technology
  • We continue to target weekly Model 3 production rates of 2,500 by the end of Q1 and 5,000 by the end of Q2.

Model 3

Tesla adds this statement in regards to Model 3 production:

“What we can say with confidence is that we are taking many actions to systematically address bottlenecks and add capacity in places like the battery module line where we have experienced constraints, and these actions should result in our production rate significantly increased during the rest of Q1 and through Q2,”

We’ll have more details when the call wraps up, so stay tuned for some additional juicy info later this evening.

Full release from Tesla posted below:

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60 Comments on "Tesla Posts Q4 Earnings, Record Revenue On Record Deliveries, Losses Continue"

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They are Spending money on the Tesla Charging Infrastructure and to and Grow the Company. This is a YOUNG and Growing Company with a Healthy Appetite for Growth, Like a Growing Child , it’s eating up a lot of the Profit So It Can Keep Growing. Rome wasn’t Built in one day and Neither is Tesla . Once they Build the company to where they want it ,They can tapper off the Growing Process , As they tapper off spending and gradually Stop putting Profits back in towards Growth . Not to worry Tesla Will Be OK!

Tesla has no profits. That’s ok though, since they are still ramping up a major new product. I’m a little disappointed that the loses are still increasing. I’m always hoping for better results.

Amazon had losses for 10 years.

Tesla is fifteen years old.

You’re right but Amazon was only a reseller, Tesla on the other hand is a manufacturer…

Thats a great difference.

Cue the shills, shorters, haters and other paid disinformers.

These Superficial Losses , Not out rite Losses, Putting profit money to work..

Yeah, let’s not let such trivial things as facts distort our fantasy world

LOL, right on cue!

Hey, Why are you out there, in the cold? Someone should come in from the cold!

Almost 700 million in losses. Damn

We, as always, appreciate your concern, fellow EV advocate./s

I would say Musk is not much of an MBA with this burn rate.

Once they Sell 14000 Model 3’s at an average of $50’000 each , there’s your break even . AT 2500 per week, they can achieve it in 5.6 weeks.. ..

Wow, so:
— for every Model 3 they sell for $50K, their profit is $50K? It costs them zero to build the car and they pay zero taxes on it?

— Where are you getting 2500/wk from? They’re at 1000/wk, and at best will reach 2500 beginning of Q3 (almost certainly later, given they’ve now announced another 3-month delivery delay for people who reserved)

— The estimated average sales price (ASP) announced a couple of years back is ~$42K, not $50K. Not everyone is willing, or able, to afford $50K+.

However, as Dual Motor is coming, and maybe performance version, apparently quite some time before base battery model, that $42,000 price average won’t likely hit anytime in Q1 or Q2! Possibly not even in Q3 or Q4, as well!

The first generation of Model 3 sales were conservatively estimated at 80-120 Billion dollars by 3rd parties.

0.7 billion dollars to launch a product with 80-120 Billion in sales in the first generation alone is a no-brainer.

Sorry your vision is so short-sighted.

$120 billion in sales mean little if those sales. cost more than $120 billion to produce. That’s the trajectory so far.

No, that is not the trajectory. They are early in the ramp-up numbers, and the trajectory is that costs per unit go down with volume. They just announced that they were still on track to hit their 25% margin after ramp-up.

Concern troll much? Just kidding, obviously your concern is as genuine as you are.

So as our resident GM shill, what car would you advice us all to get instead now it’s clear that Tesla is toast?


Negative gross margins for Model 3 in Q1. And these are the $50,000 to $60,500 cars. Don’t expect the $36,000* models to come out any time soon.

*Including destination

Anytime soon meaning before?

Now it’s late ’18 early ’19.
Looks like LG Chem 200+ mile 2019 Leaf might beat base Tesla Model 3 ($36k*) to the punch.

It is possible! Also its like Tesla is giving them room to ‘Slot in’ below them, for a bit longer!

Ouch. That’s a much bigger problem than production constraints. I expected that they couldn’t make money on any stripped base cars sold. But, to lose money on the loaded cars sold is something else.

The high cost to manufacture vehicles is basically related to the low production rate. If you have a factory that is designed to make 5000 cars per week and you are only making 500 per week you have a big problem as the cost to run the factory is not 10 times less because you are making 10 times less cars. This is similar to what killed Rover in the UK, they were building 1000’s of cars but only selling very few. Cutting back on shifts and reducing output left them uncompetative because they couldn’t cut costs deep enough. The good news is that Tesla will solve its production and finance problems similatiniously. It won’t be able to sell cars for $35k car profitably unit its volume numbers are way up from where they are now but that will come. $3.3 billion in revenue and 700 million loss is ok provided the production numbers start to grow. 700 million is *only* 14,000 50k cars. Now obviously costs will go up but if Tesla can maintain their S and X sales (100k) and have an average of 2500 cars per week for 2018 (130k) things will look very different. costs will… Read more »

A little context on your numbers would be helpful. Did they lose money on 2,000 cars or 2,000,000 cars? Was there any costs associated with getting the car to production that might affect initial revenue? What are the ongoing vs fixed capital expenditures involved in producing the car?

The ‘losing money on every car’ meme is a dead canard. Post as though you’re not just flinging crap at the wall to see what sticks.

Yes, ALL mass market cars lose money in their initial low volume. It costs money to recoup launch costs. Car makers calculate the profits launching a new car will generate by calculating the costs over the vehicle’s entire first generation.

That is why Tesla estimates 25% margins won’t happen until 5K/units a week.

Cue the Tesla apologists. Oh wait, too late…

In all seriousness there isn’t anything wrong with a company losing $ if they are investing it back in to their business which Tesla does seem to be doing. Sooner or later though they are going to have to make a profit. Heck, it took Amazon 20 years to make a profit and just look at how well they’ve done.

Tesla needs no apologists. Considering what they’ve been able to achieve in a relatively short time, I believe congratulations are in order.

Amazon made a GAAP profit every year from 2003 to 2011. They’ve generated positive free cash flow every year since 2002. They’re very different businesses, growth rates aside.

There is no reason to apologize for the top selling EV/PHEV in the United States, while still less than a quarter of their way into their ramp up.

What does the sales leader have to apologize for? Should Elon say: “So sorry we sold the more Model 3’s in the US than any other car maker”?

Seriously, don’t play this “investing in growth” thing too far. Tell me what other company in the world that doesn’t have Elon Musk involved could get away with these losses, management this poor, targets missed (Including hitting the planet Mars I guess! LOL!) and promises extended and delayed??

This is NOT normal, or shrewd business, so don’t try to tell it that way. It is what it is. It’s an anomaly. It’s a freak occurrence in history. It’s the Elon Musk show and people are more than willing to pay per view.

you have the cause/effect backwards.

Because investors strongly back Elon, his leadership allows Tesla to push growth and re-investment at a much higher rate than some nobody with no vision and no record.

Yes, if it wasn’t for Elon, Tesla would be another Fisker, or Think!, or Aptera, or etc… The history of EV startup car companies is very unlike Tesla, who has blown past the quarter-million car mark and continues to grow rapidly.

Why do you want Tesla to grow slower, and spend less money on rapid growth?

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Anyone remember how long it took Amazon to be profitable?

They were always “growth over profit”.

Besides, when you show profit, you pay bigAZS Taxes on it.

Amazon makes most of their profit in services, not goods sold.

It’s amazing that Amazon.com was, just like Tesla, showing a net “loss” almost every quarter as recently as, if I recall, three years ago. Financial analysts have such short memories! Or maybe it’s just that they’re embarrassed to admit that it has been such a short time ago that they were whining about Amazon.com being “not profitable”, just like they’re whining about Tesla now.

Learning has not taken place!

Go Tesla!

Well, considering there’s a cottage industry now built on ‘TESLA BAD’. I surmise the non-learning will continue.

Amazon reported a profit in 2003 (full year, not just one quarter). They also had positive free cash flow in 2002 and at least 4 years after that. It’s all in their annual reports.

So, if Tesla is “losing money on every car”, then shouldn’t they stop making cars? /sarcasm

It gets very, very tiresome seeing people lumping in development costs with unit costs. 🙁

It’s very good to see that Tesla is continuing to expand its production. Altho the ramp up in Model 3 production has been seriously delayed, by something like 5-6 months, still Tesla managed to increase its production last year by nearly 33%. That’s certainly something to be proud of!

In the real world, making compelling cars is an expensive endeavor and requires a lot of investments. That means showing a paper “loss” while growing, altho Tesla’s assets have been increasing faster that its debt.

Thank goodness Tesla is charging ahead with its expansion, paying no attention to the Tesla Hater cultists and the Big Oil shills!

Tesla’s global automobile sales totals:
2012: 2650
2013: 22,300
2014: 31,655 (+41.95%)
2015: 50,580 (+59.8%)
2016: 76,230 (+50.7%)
2017: 101,312 (+32.9%)


That’s nice growth but it is concerning that the growth is decreasing.

Yes, well, we shouldn’t try to paper over the reality of Tesla falling so far behind on TM3 ramp-up. It’s a serious delay. Here’s hoping that it won’t have any long-term effect on Tesla’s growth, altho realistically I think we should expect this will result in Tesla not being able to grow quite as big as it had planned, before it transitions from a growth company to a profit-making company.

There is no way a car company can expect too many years of 50% or 60% sales growth. But Tesla will probably beat those numbers at least one more time and maybe twice.
Maybe total sales of around 175k this year for 75% growth then 250k in 2019 for another 40%+ year? But both 2018 and 2019 could surprise to the upside.
Regardless, this is going to be a fun ride. Hang on and enjoy the ride!
I haven’t a clue but I will bet that the numbers will grow much faster than the FUD’sters believe and not as fast as the fans hope.

So, walking on the Middle of the Road, like the Swiss: Neutral! What would happen if Tesla only made 500 cars in week 1 of 2018, and only grew their per week production linearly to 2,500 by week 13? That would be a 1st Quarter average of 1,500 Model 3’s per week, or if you only counted 12 Weeks for the Quarter: 18,000 model 3’s! So if you assume a late final ramp up, you can see 12,000 to 15,000 Model 3’s in Q1! If they make a straight line ramp from 2,500 to 5,000 Model 3’s built per week in Q2, the average of that for the Quarter would be 3,750 per week, or for 12 Weeks = 45,000! If that final ramp also came late that number would be possibly as low as 24,000 to 36,000! Taking my suggested 2 lowest figures of 12,000 + 24,000 = 36,000. So if H1 2018 can’t see at least that many Model 3’s made, I would say, they have big challenges to face! However, at 15,000 + 36,000 = 51,000 Model 3’s for H1 2018, it would indicate they are stuggling, but they are getting there: more work to do! If… Read more »

Robert, I think your first example of 36,000 in the first half may be too optimistic. Tesla will get there, but they simply don’t seem to be tooling up as fast as they hoped for a few months ago. I think they will be lucky to sell more than 80,000 3’s this year.
The latter examples you give look more like 2019 to me. But I have to admit that I am not a student of this subject. I just see Tesla as being in a tough spot when it comes to building their production numbers. I think Musk said that they just exceeded 110 cars per business day towards the end of December. 793 in 7 business days if memory serves.
550 3’s a week is not exactly knocking it out of the park. Then there was that classic fudge he gave. That they produced a “number that extrapolates to 1000 a week.” They didn’t really produce that many in any given week, but they did produce enough that you can kind of see that production level from there.
Production numbers ARE going up but it doesn’t appear to be rising all that quickly.

I still doubt their ramp up numbers. They’ve been so overly optimistic about the ramp up to border on outright lying. I think they might be producing 4000/month by the end of this quarter. Maybe they hit 2500/week by the end of Q2, or if things continue to go as they have been then maybe not until Q3 or Q4.

I’m skeptical of them ever hitting 5000/week. I’m not saying for sure that they won’t do it, but I’m not certain it will *make sense* for them to do it. I don’t think the demand is out there for 250K Model 3s per year. Certainly not unless they get the base model out there, and then the tax credit is going to quickly expire. So… I don’t know, I just have my doubts.

theflew — Actually, the growth is continuing to increase in rate, it is just that percents confuse the issue. Another way to look at the number of units they increased in production over the previous year, like this:

2012: 2650
2013: 22,300
2014: 31,655 (+9,355)
2015: 50,580 (+18,925)
2016: 76,230 (+24,650)
2017: 101,312 (+25,082)

As you can see, they continue to increase how many more units they made over the previous year by more units each year.

This is especially impressive considering that overall the automotive industry sold FEWER cars in 2017 than in 2016 by about 2%. If Tesla had simply matched industry performance, they would have sold only 75K cars in 2017.

Tesla sales are still growing at a rate unheard of in the automotive industry.

Unheard of?

Jaguar is growing faster.

Jaguar isn’t a company. Jaguar is a sub-brand of Tata. Tata is the company.

No, Tata (the company) isn’t outgrowing Tesla (the company).

Sorry you don’t know the difference between a company and a brand.


Hey bro you know how many executives left GM today for greener pastures? Yep neither do I because nobody cares.

Now lets talk about how many people got fired for designing the bolt with bad seats, a plastic interior, no longer range battery, no all wheel drive, slow fast charging then making them pay an additional $700 for it and having no garage door opener on a $40k car?

Tesla sold $179 million in ZEV credits and STILL lost almost $700 million. Mind boggling.

Apparently your mind is easily boggled. Most people are quite capable of comprehending the difference between investment and marginal loss.

And yet 0.7 Billion is a rounding error on the projected 80 Billion to 120 Billion in sales over the first 5 years once Tesla reaches full production ramp up of the Model 3.

Your boggled mind is boggled because it thinks too small.


Think of all the pollution Tesla enabled by selling those credits. Hypocrites.

Wow, you’re not just “glass half empty” you’re “this glass will break and take out your eye!”
If you don’t want to see ZEV credits being used, why don’t I see you lobbying for banning all ICE vehicles?

…because Six E isn’t paid to say that?