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On heels of SpaceX triumph, Elon Musk faces record Tesla loss, more Model 3 delays

By in Press Enterprise on February 8, 2018

By Ethan Baron

Electric car maker Tesla racked up a record loss in the fourth quarter of 2017 and reported no improvement — and less than full confidence — in the delayed production timeline for its Model 3 sedan.

During a conference call with analysts Wednesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk received congratulations on Tuesday’s successful launch by Musk’s Hawthorne-based SpaceX of the Falcon Heavy rocket carrying an early version of Tesla’s planned new “Roadster” into space. Musk, who operates a Tesla design center in Hawthorne, suggested the achievement should instill faith in production of the Model 3 sedan, its bid for the mass market.

“I hope people will think, ‘If we can send a Roadster to the asteroid belt we can probably solve Model 3 production,’” Musk said. “It’s just a matter of time.”

Production of the car put Tesla “in a deeper level of hell than we expected,” Musk said, adding that his firm was still “a few levels deeper than we’d like to be” and “the pain level is extremely high.” The company should get out of production hell soon, he said.

Building battery modules for the car remains a challenge in part because Tesla was “a little overconfident” in its ability to make them, Musk said. The other significant production challenge for the company involves the automated conveyance system for parts at the company’s Fremont factory, he said.

The Palo Alto firm reported a $675 million quarterly loss attributable to shareholders — higher than the $627 million forecast by Wall Street analysts.

Investors also suffered a $3.04 loss per share, slightly better than the $3.16 loss analysts had forecast.

Tesla’s $3.3 billion quarterly revenue matched Wall Street’s expectations and was $1 billion higher than the company brought in during the fourth quarter of 2016.

“Our first impression skews positive,” CFRA analyst Efraim Levy said in a note to […]    

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