Tesla's biggest net loss helps meet production target

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Musk and CFO Deepak Ahuja admitted that even production of the auto was plagued with problems; Tesla launched a new production line in a massive tent, shuffled its worker base, and worked round the clock to hit the 5,000-Model 3s-a-week target.

In a statement released after the markets closed, Tesla said it expects to produce 50,000 to 55,000 Model 3s in the third quarter, an increase of around 75% from the first quarter. Tesla also emerged with Dollars 2.2 billion in cash and equivalents; this should help Musk in raising funds in the coming quarter. Analysts polled by FactSet expected a $US2.88 loss per share.

In the previous quarter, Musk called questions posed by two analysts "boring" and "boneheaded", and refused to answer them. In Q2, Tesla delivered a total of 40,768 cars, out of which the Model 3 accounted for 18,449 deliveries. "Our goal is to be cash flow positive for every quarter going forward", he said. But analysts suggest that Tesla might run out of cash if it doesn't do a bigger capital raise. Tesla said its capital expenses would be slightly below $2.5 billion in 2018, less than last year's $3.4 billion. That's substantially less than the 2017 level of $US3.4 billion.

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While Musk flaunted plans to get Tesla's fiscal house in order, he also might end up raising some capital after all.

Musk, the eccentric billionaire, has been a lightning rod for controversies. After a struggle Musk blamed in part on relying too much on automation, the carmaker put off expenditures toward doubling that rate until it was achieved.

Thus far, Tesla has only produced higher-cost versions of the Model 3, starting at about $49,000. He also said that production efficiencies should rise as more Model 3s are built, and he said that he expects to make to around 750,000 vehicles in calendar year 2020.

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Tesla has begun to lay off 9 percent of its workforce as it tightens spending. The measures Tesla has been taking may be what bears point to as evidence that the company has been taking short-term steps only to support the perception that its outlook is improving, said Alexander Potter, an analyst at Piper Jaffray with a buy rating on the shares.

Tesla has done an excellent job of keeping investors on their toes.

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