Tesla’s profit doubles as car deliveries surge

The electric-car giant’s share price was up more than 3% in after-hours trade on the results

NEW YORK • Tesla Inc on Wednesday said profits in the past quarter more than doubled as the electric-vehicle (EV) giant forecast deliveries hitting 500,000 this year.

Net profit in the quarter rose to US$331 million (RM1.37 billion), up from US$143 million a year earlier, as revenue rose nearly 40% to US$8.7 billion.

Tesla’s share price was up more than 3% in after-hours trade on the results.

“We continue to see growing interest in our cars, storage and solar products and remain focused on cost-efficiency while growing capacity as quickly as possible,” Tesla said in a letter to shareholders.

With its hot-selling EVs, Tesla has stood out among auto industry peers and as it invests in building up its line-up with more affordable prices than in the past.

It delivered 139,000 vehicles in the past quarter, amid strong growth in its Model 3 car, the least expensive in its line-up.

“We are increasingly focused on our next phase of growth,” the letter said.

“Our most recent capacity expansion investments are now stabilising with Model 3 in Shanghai achieving its designed production rate and Model Y in Fremont, California, expected to reach capacity- level production soon.”

Tesla has also broken ground for a new manufacturing facility in Germany.

“Tesla used to be considered the up-and-coming automaker, but with half a million units of planned annual production and a globally expanding presence it’s safe to say that the company is well out of rookie territory,” said auto analyst Jessica Caldwell of Edmunds.

“If it continues on this same path, it seems that Tesla will become a fairly mainstream automaker before the mid-point of this decade.”

Caldwell said if Tesla is able to deliver on its promise for an EV priced at US$25,000, “that could be a gamechanger for not just the company, but the entire industry”.

Tesla has reported progress in what it claims to be a fully self-driving auto software system, saying an update is expected this month.

“Our Autopilot team has been focused on a fundamental architectural rewrite of our neural networks and control algorithms,” Tesla said in its earnings letter.

“As we continue to collect data over time, the system will become more robust.”

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk has negotiated a rare contract which could net him more than US$50 billion in compensation if Tesla’s share price hits certain levels, but leave him dry if the com- pany falters. — AFP