Tesla posted a loss of £487,221,750 in the fourth quarter of 2017, its biggest loss yet and almost £400 million more than what it posted in the same period of 2016.
However, the brand’s performance exceeded analysts' forecasts, giving confidence to shareholders and backing Tesla's claims that it is on track to resolve recent production issues.
Tesla said it would meet its goal of producing 5000 Model 3s per week by the end of the second quarter. If it reaches this output, CEO Elon Musk said in an earnings call that he expects Tesla’s operating income to be in the black.
Musk said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the company will be profitable before the end of 2018, revealing that Tesla is still expecting to produce one million vehicles per year by 2020.
Last year, Model 3 production hit a roadblock due to supply issues relating to its batteries. Just 1,550 deliveries were made in the final three months of 2017 – far below the 4100 vehicles predicted by analysts.
Tesla has received more than 400,000 orders for the Model 3 so far, making it the company’s most popular vehicle by a big margin. However, both the Model S and Model X have seen growth in demand, achieving 15,200 and 13,120 deliveries respectively in the final quarter of last year.
Total fourth-quarter deliveries represented a 28% increase compared with the same period in 2016 and edged Tesla’s total for the period to 29,870 cars. This was broadly in line with industry expectations of 30,000 deliveries.
This year, the brand expects to substantially boost output and deliver 100,000 Model S and Model X cars. It will also announce its production plans for the Model Y within six months. Tesla predicts a threefold increase in sales for its energy company SolarCity, which offers the Powerwall battery pack to store energy in homes.
Last year, Tesla expanded its reach with 12 new stores, bringing the global tally up to 330 locations. It said that 338 new Superchargers were installed across the 12 months, leading to a total of 1128 stations so far.
Tesla has been back in the news this week, thanks to the rocket launch of Musk’s other company, SpaceX. The Falcon Heavy rocket was sent into space carrying Musk’s own Roadster as its payload. The launch was broadly a success, with the rocket and car entering a low Earth orbit before heading further out into the solar system. However, one of the three rocket segments, all of which are designed to return to Earth, crashed into the ocean on its descent.