Tesla (TSLA) Tops Q1 EPS by 13c; Delivered 10,045 Vehicles

May 6, 2015 4:27 PM EDT

(Updated - May 6, 2015 4:29 PM EDT)

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) reported Q1 EPS of ($0.36), $0.13 better than the analyst estimate of ($0.49). Revenue for the quarter came in at $939.88 billion versus the consensus estimate of $1.04 billion.

  • Produced 11,160 vehicles, exceeding plan while improving efficiency
  • Record quarterly deliveries of 10,045 vehicles


In Q2, we expect to produce about 12,500 vehicles, representing a 12% sequential increase. We plan to deliver 10,000 to 11,000 vehicles in Q2, and we are still on track to deliver approximately 55,000 Model S and X cars in 2015. As part of our strategy to optimize operational efficiency while scaling for higher deliveries, we are shipping cars using less expensive rail, rather than by truck, to more regions in the United States and Canada. Also, we are now producing cars based on a uniform regional production mix throughout the quarter. This enables a more stable cadence of deliveries and in turn improves customer satisfaction while reducing cost. Both of these actions should lead to an increase of in-transit customer-configured finished goods inventory.

In Q2, we expect to directly lease about the same percentage of cars that we did in Q1. As always, we will use lease accounting for these cars leased directly through Tesla even in our non-GAAP financial results, as such treatment is consistent with the cash collected on these transactions. We expect to sell about $15 million of our regulatory credits in Q2, including about $5 million of ZEV credit sales.

We expect the Model S average transaction price to decline in Q2 as the dollar has strengthened by about 4% against the euro from the time we last adjusted Model S pricing. This will impact our Q2 gross margin by slightly more than 100 basis points. As a result, we expect non-GAAP automotive gross margin, excluding ZEV credits, to be just under 25% for the quarter at current exchange rates. We also expect some average price pressure from a less rich product mix, but our continuing efforts to improve efficiency and reduce manufacturing costs should offset this impact on gross margin.

In response to the continued strength of the dollar, we have just announced a price increase of about 5% in most European markets. Since this price increase applies to new orders to be delivered in Q3 and beyond, it will not impact our Q2 results. We expect Services and other gross margin to be slightly better than breakeven in Q2, and continue to improve to about 5% by Q4. The improvement will come from cost reductions on Daimler powertrains as well as increased sales of Tesla Energy and pre-owned Model S vehicles.

Our operating leverage is expected to improve this year, with revenue and gross profit both growing more quickly than operating expenses. Operating expenses should grow roughly 10% sequentially in Q2, and 45-50% for the full year as we invest in product development, including the Model 3, and expand our sales capability.

We still plan to invest about $1.5 billion in capital expenditures this year as we expand production capacity, purchase Model X tooling, continue to build the Gigafactory, and expand our stores, service centers and the Supercharger network. 2015 is off to a strong start, and we are excited about the many opportunities ahead. We expect to continue to develop many more innovative and exciting products in the coming years.

For earnings history and earnings-related data on Tesla (TSLA) click here.

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