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Tesla reports narrower than expected losses, shares rise

A Tesla Model 3 sits on the showroom floor at a dealership in Chicago, Illinois in March 2018; the car is considered key to Tesla's success in the mass market
AFP

San Francisco (AFP) – Tesla on Wednesday reported that it lost less money than the market expected and said it was making progress ramping up production of Model 3 electric cars.

The automaker reported net losses of $784.6 million on revenue of $3.4 billion in the first three months of this year.

The adjusted loss per share was $3.35, against expectations of $3.42 on a revenue of $3.32 billion.

Tesla shares were up less than a percent to $303 in after-market trades that followed release of the earnings figures.

The California-based firm said that it made “significant progress” in ramping up production Model 3 vehicles considered key to its success in the mass market.

Prior to a planned shutdown of production to make the system more efficient, Tesla managed to reach 2,270 vehicles a week. That rate is still shy of a goal that company founder and chief Elon Musk had set.

“We continue to target Model 3 production of approximately 5,000 per week in about two months, although our prior experience has demonstrated the difficulty of accurately forecasting specific production rates,” Musk said in an earnings letter to shareholders.

To achieve those Model 3 production numbers, Tesla will shut down its line again this quarter to make modifications, according Musk.

If improvements go to plan, Tesla will could begin showing profit in the second half of this year, he said.

Investors and analysts have expressed worry about how fast Tesla has been burning through cash, and stopping losses would be a major turn in the road for the company.

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