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Tesla revs for Model S launch, upbeat about crossover demand

Tesla revs for Model S launch, upbeat about crossover demand

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Tesla reported a fourth quarter loss, but is upbeat about prospects for its electric Model S sedan as well as interest in its Model X crossover. The e...

Tesla reported a fourth quarter loss, but is upbeat about prospects for its electric Model S sedan as well as interest in its Model X crossover.

The electric vehicle maker reported a fourth quarter net loss of $81.5 million, or 78 cents a share, on revenue of $39.37 million. The non-GAAP loss was 69 cents a share, a penny below Wall Street estimates.

For 2011, Tesla lost $254.4 million on revenue of $204.2 million.

Among the key points from Tesla's latest quarterly update.

  • The company sees 2012 revenue of $550 million to $600 million. That outlook reveals an upbeat outlook for its Model S.
  • Tesla's Model X crossover, which is a blend of a minivan, SUV and sports car, garnered 500 reservation requests after being revealed.
  • The company is also starting a development program with Daimler for a Mercedes Benz vehicle with a Tesla powertrain.
  • For the short term, Tesla's big bet is on the Model S launch. Tesla said that it has nearly 100 percent of the factory equipment needed to manufacture the car. There are also 30 of 50 beta vehicles produced. The Model S release candidate will arrive in the first quarter and test drives should start in the summer.
  • Meanwhile, demand for the Model S is solid with 8,000 reservations through December.

Here's the outlook from Tesla for 2012:

2012 is really a year of two halves for Tesla. Before Model S is launched, we expect that our quarterly revenue in the first half of the year should be lower than Q4. This is based on a lower rate of Roadster sales due to its availability only in Europe and Asia, as well as the transitions in our powertrain activities from existing Daimler and Toyota projects to the new development program for Daimler and start of component sales for the Toyota RAV4 EV. After Model S deliveries begin, our revenues should increase significantly. On the expectation of delivering 5,000 Model S sedans in addition to our other ongoing Roadster and powertrain sales, we anticipate that full year revenues will be in the range of $550-600 million, split about 10%/90% between the first and second halves of 2012.

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Larry Dignan

Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan is editor-in-chief of SmartPlanet and ZDNet. He is also editorial director of TechRepublic. Previously, he was an editor at eWeek, Baseline and CNET News. He has written for WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, New York Times and Financial Planning. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Delaware. He is based in New York but resides in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure