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Tesla delivers record 11,603 vehicles, posts $230 million loss for 2015 Q3

Model X Reservations Converting To Firm Orders At Higher Rate Than Model S

Tesla Motors Inc. Model X SUV Reveal
Tesla Motors Inc. Model X SUV Reveal / Image Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Every three months, all eyes seem to turn to Tesla Motors, as they announce their latest financial results for the quarter. Each time, there's a high-stakes feel in the air, and Q3 2015 is no different. Its highly volatile stock is at a relatively low $208.35, and this earnings report could make or break small fortunes. Looking at the after-hour numbers – up around ten percent – the market appears to like at least some of what it sees in this report, so let's get to it, then.

The big number here is $230 million. That's the net loss as guided by generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), and it's significantly large. Using its own non-GAAP calculations, Tesla reports that number as a more palatable $75 million. Another important indicator is gross margin, which is being reported as 24.7 percent and 25.1 percent, GAAP and non-GAAP respectively, up slightly from the previous quarter.

What investors seem most happy about is production and sales. The California automaker built a record 13,091 vehicles, while delivering a high-water mark of 11,603 units, including a handful of its Model X crossovers. Even more cheerful reading came from the mention of increased demand in its major markets of North America, Europe, and Asia, with substantial gains in China after the opening of two additional stores and recent government policy changes.

Looking forward, the California automaker expects production to increase to between 15,000 and 17,000 vehicles in the 4th quarter, and see 17,000 to 19,000 deliveries. Despite that improved output, its yearly estimated delivery figure is now expected to be between 50,000 and 52,000, down slightly from earlier 50,000 to 55,000 estimates.

Interestingly, Tesla sees its newly released Autopilot feature – now being used in over 40,000 cars – as driving additional interest and requests for test drives. The company is now accommodating those inquiries through its website, something it's quick to point out is another industry first.

The battery Gigafactory, central to the company's future, also figured prominently in this latest report, with plans being pulled forward. Though production of cells about a year away and construction still ongoing, a portion of the building is apparently already being put to use for pack production of Powerwall and Powerpacks. While this does make next year's goals easier to hit, the changeover from the Fremont factory to the Nevada facility, they say, will cause a slight decrease in the Q4 output. Still, demand is very strong, and 2016 is expected to be spent filling current orders.

During the call with financial analysts which followed the release of the earnings report, CEO Elon Musk made a couple significant hiring announcements. It appears that Jason Wheeler will be taking over as the company's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) from Deepak Ahuja, who announced his upcoming retirement some months ago. Wheeler comes to the outfit from Google, where he was Vice President of Finance.

Filling the role of President of Global Sales and Service will be Jon McNeil. He was most recently the CEO of Enservio, and previously to that had co-founded Sterling Collision Centers, where, we're told, he helped reduced industry repair times by 90 percent.

If you'd like to dive deeper into the latest Tesla earnings report and read its shareholder letter, we have that waiting for you below.

Tesla Motors Q3 2015 Shareholder Letter

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