Tesla delivers record 7,785 sedans in 3Q

...But its loss widens on engineering costs.

Tesla makes one vehicle – the $70,000 Model S sedan. Photo: Tesla

Tesla makes one vehicle – the $70,000 Model S sedan.
Photo: Tesla

DETROIT — Electric car maker Tesla Motors set a record for deliveries of its Model S sedan in the third quarter, delighting investors even as its losses doubled from a year ago.

Tesla delivered 7,785 cars during the July-September period. That was slightly below its guidance of 7,800 but up 41.5% from the same quarter a year ago.

Tesla’s net loss widened to $74.7 million for the quarter, or 60 cents per share, which was almost double its loss from a year ago. The company blamed increased research and development costs for both the Model X SUV, which is due to go on sale next year, as well as its new all-wheel-drive system. It also cited the expense of adding stores in Asia and building more charging stations.

Accounting for leasing, stock-based compensation and other factors, Palo Alto, California-based Tesla beat analysts’ expectations with earnings of 2 cents per share.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected a loss of a penny. On that basis, Tesla also beat analysts’ revenue forecast with revenue of $932 million. Analysts were expecting revenue of $892.1 million.

Tesla shares rose more than 5 per cent in after-hours trading to $243.18 per share. They have traded in a 52-week range of $116.10 to $291.42.

Tesla managed record quarterly deliveries even with the temporary shutdown of its Fremont, California, factory in July to install more production capacity. Tesla said the longer-than-expected shutdown cost it 2,000 vehicles, but the plant changes will allow production to increase 50 per cent both this year and next.

Because of the shutdown, and the increased complexity of its new all-wheel-drive models, Tesla said it expects to deliver 33,000 Model S sedans for the full year. That is 5% to 7% below its previous estimates.

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