During the call, Musk also said that they now have about 2,000 reservations with deposits for Tesla Semi, but he points out that they haven't really been selling them and those reservations have been organic from the launch and subsequent coverage. "The reality is, you're not a real company until you are". "That's our focus right now". At the end of last quarter, it estimated Tesla was making about 1,000 a week, a big jump from the fourth quarter but less than half the 2,500 a week target that Tesla hoped to hit by the end of 2017. Shares were down over 5% in after-hours trading as of this writing.
Musk was put under considerable scrutiny during an earnings call with analysts where concern about the cash burn rate was brought up again and again and whether the company would need to sell off more stock to pay its bills. "Elon hasn't always been a man of his word, but if things keep up at this pace Tesla is on a better track to hit its Model 3 production commitment by July, which could be a blessing and a curse". In a letter to investors, the company said that it spent down from $3.4 billion in the final quarter of 2017 to $2.7 billion in Q1 2018 - and that it would reduce its 2018 capital needs to $3 billion from a predicted $3.4 billion. At this point, if efficiency is just that good, Tesla should maybe consider reducing the size of the pack and increasing the load capacity, which can also have a great impact on the economics of trucking.
Musk has also admitted that his electric vehicle-making company has been too reliant on robots for production and the human workforce is underrated.
Strong sales of the auto are key to generating cash to pay operating expenses, fund capital spending and make upcoming debt payments.
Musk plans to shut down its Fremont, California factory for 10 days in the second quarter but said Tesla will meet the production target of 5,000 Model 3s per day by the end of June, as planned, and will turn a profit in the second half of the year.
This is primarily based on our ability to reach Model 3 production volume of 5,000 units per week and to grow Model 3 gross margin from slightly negative in Q1 2018 to close to breakeven in Q2 and then to highly positive in Q3 and Q4.More news: White House Defends Bodyguard Seizing Records From Trump's Former Doctor
Tesla has been wrestling with two key issues: How fast it can produce its latest Model 3 and its cash position.
Beyond the 9,766 Model 3s produced in the first quarter, Tesla made a combined 24,728 Model S and X vehicles, its luxury sedan and SUV.
The Model 3 starts at $35,000 but can easily top $50,000 with options. "We're going to scrub the barnacles on that front".
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.
"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.
Excluding expenses for stock-based compensation and other items, Tesla lost $3.35 per share. Revenue, at about $3.4 billion, was what analysts figured on. Finally, KeyCorp reiterated a "hold" rating on shares of Tesla in a research report on Wednesday, April 18th. Revenue exceeded estimates of $3.28 billion.