Tesla Motors reported its 11th consecutive quarterly loss Wednesday and missed analysts’ forecasts on revenue and net income. But investors cheered news that the Palo Alto, California, maker of luxury electric cars confirmed a March 31 unveiling of its $35,000 Model 3 and said it expects to be profitable by the fourth quarter of 2016.
In its letter to shareholders released after markets closed in New York City, the maker of the Model S luxury sedan and Model X sport utility vehicle said it will be producing 1,000 Model X vehicles a week in its second quarter ending in June. Tesa also said it generated $179 million in positive cash flow at the end of 2015, a key milestone that shows Tesla gradually weaning itself off external financing.
Tesla also said it plans to spend $1.5 billion in investments this year, “without accessing any outside capital other than our sources that support our leasing and finished goods inventory.”
“During Q4, we reduced Model S production costs, started volume Model X production and still produced a record 14,037 new Tesla vehicles,” said the letter from CEO and Chairman Elon Musk and the company’s new Chief Financial Officer Jason Wheeler.
During a conference call after the earnings were released, Wheeler said the company would average 700 to 800 cars a week in the second quarter and would hit 1,600 to 1,800 by the end of the year.
Tesla reported a net loss on $320.4 million, or $2.44 per share, in the fourth quarter ended December, wider than the loss of $107.6 million and 86 cents per share in the same period in 2014. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters prior to the earnings report expected the company to eke out a slight gain of $3.9 million and a loss of 1 cent per share.
Investors shrugged at the earnings miss and sent the stock up more than 12 percent in after-hours trading.
“The initial response despite the miss is related to some relief that it wasn’t worse with the stock down 40 percent year to date,” said Efraim Levy, senior equity analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Tesla’s revenue rose to $1.21 million. Tesla also reports an alternative adjusted revenue figure based on money backed by the future sale of some post-lease vehicles under a buyback guarantee program. That revenue came in at $1.75 billion, lower than the forecast of $1.8 billion.
For the year, Tesla reported a net loss of $888.7 million, or $6.93 per share, wider than the loss of $294 million and $2.36 per share in 2014. Last year’s revenue came in at $4 billion, up from $3.2 billion in the previous year. The company sold about 50,000 cars last year.
The company said it’s on track to unveil the Model 3 prototype at the end of March as it begins taking preorders. This will be the public’s first glimpse of the widely anticipated, low-priced Tesla electric car for mass consumption.