Tesla Model Y won't be here until 2020

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

"That's our focus right now".

Tesla reported a record loss of $710 million in the first quarter and continues to burn through cash as it pushes to ramp up production of its mass market Model 3 vehicle. "The big questions remain: Will investors step up to put more cash into the company, and can Tesla conquer the Model 3 production challenges".

The company's stock initially rose - but then fell sharply as analysts on a conference call questioned CEO Elon Musk on costs and production. He then allowed multiple questions from a person via YouTube.

With more Model 3 sedans rolling off the line, Tesla would have more of the lower priced versions available for consumers, including the base model that starts at $35,000.

The company still has $2.67 billion United States dollars in cash but that's down from the $3.37 billion USD that it had at the end of previous year. That's also the level needed for Tesla to make money.

Musk abruptly ended a round of questioning after the analysts asked about the impact of the electric-car maker's reduced spending plans and the percentage of Model 3 reservation holders who have configured a vehicle. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP increased its holdings in shares of Tesla by 1.9% in the third quarter.

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Tesla said gross margins on the Model 3, which today are slightly negative, would be close to flat in the second quarter and grow to "highly positive" in the second half of the year. "We're feeling really good about the Tesla Model 3 production ramp".

The company expects to be making 5,000 Model 3's per week by the end of June.

Musk said the restructuring would involve getting rid of third-party contractors that have grown out of control. "We have temporarily dialed back automation and introduced certain semi-automated or manual processes while we work to eventually have full automation take back over", the company said.

Musk acknowledged error recently in over-automating the Model 3 assembly-line, which has resulted in production delays, but it is still unclear how long and costly it will be to unwind this mistake. It previously forecast spending of at least $3.4 billion. The firm had revenue of $3.41 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts' expectations of $3.30 billion.

Automotive revenue rose only 1 percent from the prior quarter to $2.74 billion. But Tesla's shares nevertheless declined almost 6% in after-hours trading to $283.10. Nomura restated a "buy" rating and set a $420.00 price objective on shares of Tesla in a report on Thursday, March 29th. Insiders sold a total of 5,529 shares of company stock worth $1,786,841 over the last ninety days. FDx Advisors Inc. acquired a new position in Tesla in the 4th quarter valued at $203,000. The company now enters Q2 2018 with a cash balance of about US$2.7 billion, a figure that is about 20.8% less than what it had at the end of 2017 (about US$3.4 billion). Many had predicted massive cash hemorrhages and a fairly bleak outlook for the future based on continued production woes, factory worker injury reporting scandals and credit rating downgrades.

And when another analyst, Joseph Spak, of RBC, asked him about the next step for the new more reasonably priced Model 3 electric vehicle, there was a 14-second pause. At one point it had more than 500,000 potential buyers on a waiting list. It said it lost $567.9 million in the first quarter, or $3.35 a share.

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