Currently reading: Tesla reports record losses - but boss Musk insists it is close to profitability
Company value dives after entrepreneur has terse exchange over "boring" questions relating to company finances in media conference call

Tesla posted a record loss of £523 million in the first three months of 2018 – but company chief Elon Musk insists the firm is on course to become profitable by the end of the year.

The American firm’s first quarter loss was more than double the £243m the firm lost in the same period a year ago. Tesla generated £2.5bn in revenue between January and March – a year-on-year rise of 26% – but continued to fall below its own production targets for the Model 3.

Tesla analysis: Will the fairytale end this year?

Tesla produced 2270 Model 3s per week in April, below its revised target of 2500. The firm had initially planned to produce 5000 cars a week by the end of 2017, but has hit trouble scaling up production, and has suspended work in its California factory on several occasions in a bid to cure “production bottlenecks".

Tesla: Model 3 production growth 'rivals that of Model T' (March 2018)

In an email to staff, Musk said Tesla was ready to be profitable, if it reduced capital expenditure and hit its target of producing 5000 models a week by the end of June.

Shares in Tesla Inc remained stable following the announcement of the results, but then fell around five per cent, according to Reuters - wiping around £1.47bn from the value of the company – during a media conference call given by Musk.

When asked what percentage of customers who had reserved a Model 3 had configured options for their cars – a signal of how much profit the firm could make on each vehicle – Musk responded: “These questions are so dry. They’re killing me.” 

Musk also cut off a question about capital expenditure, stating that: “Boring, bonehead questions are not cool.”

Musk then took a series of questions from the host of a YouTube channel. During that exchange, Musk reiterated that production on Tesla’s forthcoming Model Y crossover would begin in early 2020, and claimed the firm’s autonomous ride-sharing vehicle could be fully developed by late 2019.

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Tesla analysis: Will the fairytale end this year?

Tesla: Model 3 production growth 'rivals that of Model T' (March 2018)

Tesla Model Y production planned to begin in November 2019


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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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bowsersheepdog 8 May 2018

He walks like a duck...

Musk is a quack selling potions which don't work and it's all going to come crashing down, with the entire electric car scam smashing down on top of it.  A shitload of money is going to be lost, right across the industry, and before the end of the next decade hands will be wrung to shreds and the ledges will be packed out.  Electric cars are going nowhere.

Folsom 3 May 2018

Car and Driver road test

C&D website showing Model 3 test today. Tesla wouldn't give them one so they tested a February production customer car. $56k (not $35k) with what they called the worst exterior panel fit and finsh they'd seen in recent history. No faster than 4-cyl A4, interior noise level higher than a 4-cyl A4, Model 3 owners have to pay for recharging unlike higher end Tesla models, touch screen requires 3 inputs to just change air flow or volume, the list goes on...

Meeting production goals are one thing, maintaining production demand is another...

275not599 4 May 2018

Also another $1000 for any

Also another $1000 for any colour other than black.

275not599 3 May 2018

Musk stated in the phone-in

Musk stated in the phone-in that Tesla would not need any new funds this year.  Even Tesla bulls said this is nonsense.  Musk bites the hand that feeds him by mocking Wall Street representatives asking good questions.  This is no way to run a company.