Model 3 production issues are burning through Tesla's cash

Elon Musk

Elon Musk indicated Tesla will take a question from retail investors during its first-quarter earnings call

Tesla said it produced 2,270 Model 3s per week in the last week of April, up from 2,250 in the second week of the month. "The truth is you're not a real company until you are, frankly".

Maybe next quarter, but not later than fourth quarter for Model Y. We also expect to announce the location of a Tesla Gigafactory in China soon.

Free cash flow, a key metric of financial health, widened to negative $1 billion in the first quarter from negative $277 million in the fourth quarter, excluding costs of systems for its solar business.

Ducking analysts' questions has a price: $2 billion.

The losses mount as production of the Model 3 - Tesla's first mass market vehicle with a starting price of $35,000 - has been dogged by manufacturing issues.

"This is primarily based on our ability to reach Model 3 production volume of 5,000 units per week", Musk wrote in a statement. At the end of the period, Tesla had $2.7 billion in cash, $700 million less than the start of the quarter.

Musk plans to shut down its Fremont, California factory for 10 days in the second quarter but said Tesla will meet the production target of 5,000 Model 3s per day by the end of June, as planned, and will turn a profit in the second half of the year.

Mr Musk has also made the unusual admission that automation is overrated and more humans are needed to build the cars.

In the call, Musk talked about a company reorganization this month and focused on removing third-party contractors.

Tesla shares plummeted after CEO Elon Musk called an analyst a "boring bonehead" as he answered questions about a record net loss. Musk later took additional questions from analysts before the call ended.

The giant loss in a critical quarter for the 15-year-old company beat Wall Street estimates.

Tesla reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Wednesday, pledged to fix production issues and said it would stop burning through cash by later this year. The division could be posting over half a billion in revenue per quarter by the end of this year. Finally, KeyCorp reiterated a "hold" rating on shares of Tesla in a research report on Wednesday, April 18th. The business's quarterly revenue was up 26.4% compared to the same quarter a year ago.

Tesla Inc. has had only two profitable quarters in its almost eight years as a public company.

Tesla said its spending had been trimmed and the company would spend less than $3 billion in capital expenditures in 2018, below its 2017 total of $3.4 billion. In the future, all Gigafactories will include vehicle production.

"We're going to YouTube", Musk said, referring to the owner of a channel on the video-streaming service who lobbied the CEO ahead of time for the chance to ask questions on behalf of retail investors.

Tesla will have to play a delicate production balance between Q2 and Q3 to hedge when they run out of tax credits, and while Model 3 reservation holders aren't exactly known for being pragmatic, Tesla likely wants to keep the rebate carrot out there for as long as possible, she says. At one point it had more than 500,000 potential buyers on a waiting list.

Prospective patrons have showed patience - there are still more than 450,000 reservation holders waiting, and customer deposits keep rising, approaching nearly $1 billion as of March 31.

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