UPDATE: Tesla (TSLA) Tops Q1 EPS by 3c; Plans Q2 Production of ~20,000 Vehicles

May 4, 2016 4:05 PM EDT

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(Updated - May 4, 2016 4:07 PM EDT)

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) reported Q1 EPS of ($0.57), $0.03 better than the analyst estimate of ($0.60). Revenue for the quarter came in at $1.6 billion versus the consensus estimate of $1.6 billion.

In Q1, we reached a new quarterly production record of 15,510 vehicles, up 10% from Q4. Q1 Model S production of 12,851 vehicles met plan, but Model X production of 2,659 vehicles was insufficient to meet our projected level of deliveries. Our Q1 delivery announcement explained the Model X production challenges and the reasons for them. We are making significant progress in increasing production and plan to continue increasing total vehicle production to support over 50,000 deliveries in the second half of this year. Continuing to ramp high quality production is the top priority at Tesla right now.

Tesla Energy posted strong growth in the quarter as well. During Q1, we delivered over 25 MWh of energy storage to customers in four continents. We delivered over 2,500 Powerwalls and nearly 100 Powerpacks in the quarter throughout North America, Asia, Europe and Africa.

Advancing Build Plan

We are on track to achieve volume Model 3 production and deliveries in late 2017. Of course, in order to meet that timeframe, we will be holding both ourselves and our suppliers accountable to
be ready for volume production in advance of that timing.

Additionally, given the demand for Model 3, we have decided to advance our 500,000 total unit build plan (combined for Model S, Model X, and Model 3) to 2018, two years earlier than previously
planned. Increasing production five fold over the next two years will be challenging and will likely require some additional capital, but this is our goal and we will be working hard to achieve it.

We remain on plan to make the first cells at the Gigafactory in Q4 2016, and we are adjusting our plans there to accommodate our revised build plan.

Our objective with Model 3 is to create the world’s best car with a base price of $35,000, before any incentives, with a range of at least 215 miles on a single charge, and with strong gross margins. We plan to incorporate our best technology into Model 3, yet keep it relatively simple to build at high volume and with high quality.


Outlook
In Q2, we expect to produce about 20,000 vehicles, representing a sequential increase of nearly 30%, and will deliver as many of these cars as we can in Q2, with the rest being delivered in Q3. Due to a large number of vehicles in transit to customers in Europe and Asia at end of quarter, Q2 deliveries are expected to be approximately 17,000 vehicles. Importantly, now that supply chain constraints have been resolved, we plan to exit Q2 at a steady production rate of 2,000 vehicles per week, thus laying the foundation for a strong Q3 delivery number.

Model 3 Unveiling

Looking out beyond Q2, we remain confident that we can deliver 80,000 to 90,000 new Model S and Model X vehicles in 2016. This is due to the growing demand we are seeing for Model S and Model X, the improved rate of production that we project for Q2, and the production increases planned for the back half of 2016.

Model S cost reductions and improving Model X manufacturing efficiency should cause Automotive gross margin to increase. We are on plan for Model S non-GAAP gross margin to approach 30% and Model X non-GAAP gross margin of about 25% by year-end, with higher Model X gross margin in 2017.

Total non-GAAP operating expenses in Q2 should increase slightly from Q1 as we grow our customer support infrastructure while maintaining our focus on expense management. Then, as we accelerate Model 3 development work in the back half of 2016, operating expense growth should increase, so that full year 2016 total non-GAAP operating expenses should increase by about 20-25%.

Given our plans to advance our 500,000 total unit build plan, essentially doubling the prior growth plan, we are re-evaluating our level of capital expenditures, but expect it will be about 50% higher than our previous guidance of $1.5 billion for 2016. Naturally, this will impact our ability to be net cash flow positive for the year, but given the demand for Model 3, investing to meet that demand is the best long-term decision for Tesla.

The overwhelming demand for Model 3 and our improving financial results in Q1 represent a strong start to 2016. We are looking forward to bringing Model 3 to market as together we advance the world’s transition to sustainable transportation.

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



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