is sort of like hip-hop superstar of the auto world -- it's blowing
through money like it could be dead tomorrow. The
company had plenty of promising news so far this year. In May
it announced that Toyota
invested in it and contracting it to help produce Toyota's
upcoming electric RAV4 crossover SUV. The company also
USD in cash from a initial public offering of
stock.However, according to its latest earnings report it
bled out $103M USD in only its first 3 quarters to date. Its
latest loss -- for Q3 2010 -- was at $34.9M USD. That's
disappointing considering that in Q3 2009 the company only lost only
$4.6M USD, and was
profitable for the first two quarters of 2009.Company
founder and chief executive Elon Musk received the news of the big
loss casually, commenting to
Jose Mercury News,
"Attaining quarterly profitability isn’t a goal… We’re
very focused on long-term profitability."Mr. Musk who
pocketed a tidy sum of cash during the stock offering, says that with
Toyota's support, too, the losses are less of a concern, writing in
are very pleased to report steady top-line growth and significant
growth in gross margin, driven by the continued improvement in
Roadster orders and our growing powertrain business. Roadster orders
in this quarter hit a new high since the third quarter of 2008,
having increased over 15% from last quarter. While some of this is
due to seasonal effects associated with selling a convertible during
the summer months, we are pleased with the global expansion of the
Roadster business and the continued validation of Tesla’s
technology leadership position evidenced by our new and expanding
if Roadster orders are increasing, why is Tesla losing so much
money? The answer lies in its entry-level luxury electric
Model S, which it wants to roll out. Tesla hopes to sell
the car for around $40K USD, after tax credit. However, cutting
its production costs in half is no easy chore -- particularly when
Tesla hopes to complete the vehicle in just over one more year,
beginning assembly in early 2012.Tesla also has the advantage
of strong support from the Obama administration and the U.S.
government. President Obama recently urged
Republicans in Congress to back EV funding.Those
factors have led investors to be generally optimistic, and share
prices currently are at above $24/share, over a 40 percent gain over
the IPO price of $17/share.The critical test for Tesla,
though, will come in 2012 -- the same year that the Roadster will
cease production. If it can't deliver sufficient quantities of
the 2013 Tesla Model S, or if it faces delays that could spell
disaster for the newly public automaker. And even if it
can produce the
vehicle, it faces the further test of whether the relative "masses"
of entry luxury buyers really desire an electric vehicle from a
relatively green automaker. Tesla and Mr. Musk believe (or at
least say they believe) that the Model S will sell very well -- and
they better hope so, as the company's success depends on it.
quote: Would you also complain about US taxpayers bailing out the large financial institutions? How about the large car manufacturers?
quote: My point could be that it's not necessarily a bad thing for governments to offer incentives for certain things.
quote: Complain about the absurd amount of US military spending.
quote: Would you also complain ...