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Tesla posts record $2.7B revenue, but $330M loss in first quarter

By
Doug G. Ware
Tesla Motors posted $2.7 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2017 -- partly through sales of Model X and Model S (pictured) vehicles -- but also noted a loss of $330 million. Photo courtesy Tesla Motors
Tesla Motors posted $2.7 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2017 -- partly through sales of Model X and Model S (pictured) vehicles -- but also noted a loss of $330 million. Photo courtesy Tesla Motors

May 3 (UPI) -- Tesla Motors posted a record revenue haul Wednesday for the first three months of 2017 as the electric automaker prepares to begin selling its first mass market vehicle this year.

Tesla announced its first quarter earnings, which included $2.7 billion in revenue -- using generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) -- up from $1.14 billion a year ago and $2.28 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2016.

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"We have made a solid start to what should be an exciting 2017," the company said in a news release Wednesday. "Vehicle production in Q1 increased by 64% compared to a year ago, which enabled us to set new quarterly records of 25,051 deliveries and $2.7 billion in GAAP revenue."

Wall Street expected only about $2.6 billion in revenue.

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The automaker, though, reported a net loss of $330 million ($1.33 per share) -- quite a bit more than analysts had expected (81 cents per share) and about $50 million more than the company lost in Q1 of last year.

The figures come as Tesla is preparing to release its first non-luxury electric vehicle, the Model 3.

"Model 3 activities related to vehicle development, manufacturing equipment installation and supplier readiness remain on plan to start production in July," Tesla said. "Vehicle development is nearly complete as we approach the start of production."

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The Model 3, a four-door sedan, is expected to sell for around $35,000 -- quite a bit cheaper than its Model S (starting around $80,000) and Model X (starting around $95,000) vehicles.

"As part of our Model 3 launch preparations, we are significantly expanding our infrastructure to support Tesla owners by increasing the density and geographic footprint of our presence," the automaker said. "This year, we plan to add nearly 100 retail, delivery and service locations globally, representing an approximately 30% increase in facilities."

In trading Wednesday, shares of Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) lost nearly $8 -- nearly 2 and-a-half percent -- to $311.02.

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