Tesla turns a profit in what Elon Musk calls 'a historic quarter'
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Tesla Motors delivered on CEO Elon Musk's promise to make money during its latest quarter after fulfilling his pledge to boost production of its first mass market electric car.
Tesla earned a profit in the third quarter, fulfilling Musk's promise of a turn to positive cash flow amid months of scandals involving its high-profile CEO and federal probes.
The electric-car giant's deliveries of its new Model 3 sedan grew to 56,000 as America's most valuable automaker surmounted production delays, delivery woes and a federal regulator's lawsuit over Musk's tweets.
Tesla logged US$312 million (NZ$478.6m) in profit, swinging into the black for the first time in many quarters. It had US$6.8 billion in revenue, compared with analysts' estimates of roughly US$6.3b, and more than doubled its revenue compared with the same quarter last year. Musk heralded the results as “a truly historic quarter.”
The US$50b car company, Silicon Valley's biggest challenger to Detroit, has won fervent loyalty from buyers of its sleek, pricey, battery-powered SUVs and sedans. But it has scrambled for years to prove it can survive in a hotly competitive industry packed with cheaper and more traditional gas-powered cars.
A big jump in Tesla's output of its mass-market Model 3 car powered the breakthrough. The manufacturing increase and moneymaking quarter are two things that Musk promised would happen in early August.
Revenue more than doubled from last year to US$6.8 billion to easily top analyst estimates, just as the profit did.
In a conference call with analysts late Wednesday, Musk predicted Tesla would remain profitable from this point onward.
"This quarter was an important step toward that," Musk said after getting choked up talking about the support that Tesla's customers have shown the company. "I am incredibly excited about what lies ahead."