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Once against fast-tracked startup is making a profit

Tesla Motors, Inc. (TSLA) made waves in June 2010 when it went public, taking the brainchild of PayPal co-founder Elon Musk to a new level of exposure.  But in the wake of the IPO, Tesla was in for a bumpy ride as it wound down sales of its pricey Roadster electric sports car, and attempted to transition into the mid-range luxury market with its upcoming Model S design.  Share prices fell and the company went from turning profits to blowing money fast.

But much like Elon Musk's other startup, SpaceX, Tesla in the end delivered, launching the Model S to market around the time frame it had hoped to, despite some minor delays.

Amidst a market where EV makers are typically full of excuses, delays, and cancellations, Tesla -- like its commercial spacecraft counterpart -- is a rarity.  Now CEO and co-founder Elon Musk brings more good news.

On Monday in a message to his 112,000 Twitter followers, the CEO posted, "Am happy to report that Tesla was narrowly cash flow positive last week.  Continued improvement expected through year end."

The Tesla Model S has returned the EV automaker to positive cashflow.

Currently, Tesla is racing to fulfill demand for the Model S, whose price will be bumped $2,500 to $59,900 USD on Jan. 1.  The vehicles, however, are eligible for a $7,500 USD tax rebate offered by the U.S. government that knocks a bit off the price.

Tesla, which produces vehicles at the old Toyota Motor Comp. (TYO:7203NUMMI factory in Fremont, Calif., plans to sell 20,000 Model S sedans in 2013.  The Model S gets 160 to 300 miles on a charge, depending on which size battery pack is purchased (the base price is for the 160 mile range variant).

It will then follow up in 2014 with the first production run of the Model X, a luxury electric sports vehicle.

Tesla Model X [Source: Automobile Magazine]
It's clear that Tesla attacked the part of the market where electric vehicles were most likely to succeed -- the luxury segment, an area where the cost of the battery pack can be defrayed by cutting into the typical markup luxury brands garner.  However, while Tesla makes it look easy, designing and selling luxury EVs is no easy task.

While Tesla's Model S earned the distinction of being Motor Trend's and Automobile magazine's 2013 "Car of the Year", rival Fisker saw its much delayed "Karma" plug-in hybrid electric sports car get widely panned.  Tesla shares have surged 21 percent in 2012, on account of its unlikely success. 

Source: Twitter

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RE: SEC Press Release??
By Keeir on 12/5/2012 3:55:53 PM , Rating: 2
That's an interesting question.

Since there are many news articles covering this tweet, I think in the end it comes down to the question about intent in using Twitter as the mechanism. If the CEO's twitter account is restricted in some way... maybe,

But a quick check shows he has 113,000+ followers. He appears to have made the tweet well after the close of the stock market, and well before it would open the next day. There really does not appear to be any intent in this case, so I'd be surprised if there is significant blow-back from this. In a way, its exact opposite of encouraging insider trading. Since Elon Musk would likely tell many individuals in person (before twitter) or hold employee recongition, in a world without this tweet, these people would essentially be on the honor system to not engage in insider trading.

RE: SEC Press Release??
By othercents on 12/5/2012 4:34:32 PM , Rating: 2
I don't believe Twitter is the approved way to get information to the entire market even if they followed the rules of sending the release after the close of market and well before the market opening. I believe the rules require them to put all press releases in a single location which would be their Investor Relations portion of their website along with submitting them to the SEC. Also the Press Release had to be approved by the board of directors and would have the forward looking statements required by the SEC.

It could even be said that only the 113,000+ followers got the release while the rest of the market was not properly informed. This would be the same is Elon Musk only told individuals and those individuals made trades based on that information prior to an official release by the company.

SEC doesn't need much to start an investigation.

RE: SEC Press Release??
By Jeffk464 on 12/5/2012 11:26:01 PM , Rating: 2
What is the government possibly going to do to him? Without him the US space program is kind of on hold.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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