Tesla Loses $619 Million in Third Quarter

Biggest quarterly loss to date: The cost of launching the mass-market Model 3

Tesla Motors posted a $619.4-million loss in the third quarter of 2017, on automotive revenues of nearly $3 billion, as it struggled to ramp up production of its $35,000-plus Model 3 electric-powered sedan.

“The initial phase of manufacturing any new vehicle is always challenging, and the Model 3 production ramp is no exception—particularly given our focus on highly automated manufacturing processes that will ultimately result in higher volumes at significantly lower costs,” Tesla said in its published Third Quarter 2017 update.

While Tesla CEO Elon Musk had previously said Model 3 production would reach 1,500 per week by last September, it has a long way to go. Tesla says it delivered 222 Model 3s in Q3, as well as 25,915 Model Ses and Xes.

Reports are that somewhere between 260 and 500 Tesla Model 3s have been delivered to-date, most to employees and investors.

Last month The Daily Kanban reported that the Tesla Model 3 assembly line was still sitting in its Michigan factory.

Tesla now says it plans to reach production of 5,000 Model 3s per week by “late Q1 of 2018,” and then ramp up to 10,000 per week shortly thereafter.

Tesla reportedly has about 400,000 orders for the Model 3, though it has long ceased to release exact numbers. Intenders had to post a $1,000 deposit to buy the car.

Last quarter’s loss of $619 million compares with a $21.9-million profit in the third quarter of 2016, on lower gross automotive revenues of $2.298 billion.

For the first three quarters of 2017, Tesla has lost $1.286 billion on automotive revenues of $8.47 billion. Tesla says it has a cash balance of $3.5 billion entering the fourth quarter.

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