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Tesla First Quarter 2018 Update
• Model 3 production hit 2,270/week in April for the 3rd straight week over 2,000
• Q1 Auto GAAP gross margin up sequentially by 80 bp and non-GAAP by 500 bp
• Cash balance of $2.7 billion at the end of Q1
• 2018 Capex projection reduced from >$3.4 billion to <$3 billion
• Expecting positive GAAP net income and positive cash flow in Q3 and Q4 2018
We made significant progress on the Model 3 ramp in the second half of Q1, and the momentum continued into early Q2. Prior to a planned shutdown in mid-April to further increase production, we produced more than 2,000 Model 3 vehicles for three straight weeks, and we hit 2,270 in the last of those weeks. Even at this stage of the ramp, Model 3 is already on the cusp of becoming the best-selling mid-sized premium sedan in the US, and our deliveries continue to increase. Consumers have clearly shown that electric vehicles are simply more desirable when priced on par with their internal combustion engine competitors while offering better technology, performance and user experience.
If we execute according to our plans, we will at least achieve positive net income excluding non-cash stock based compensation in Q3 and Q4 and we expect to also achieve full GAAP profitability in each of these quarters. 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. Ultimately, the growth of Model 3 and the profit associated with it will help us accelerate the transition to sustainable energy even faster.
ADVANCING SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT
As with all manufacturing, Model 3 production can only go as fast as the slowest part of the entire supply chain and production process. For months, the battery module line was our main production bottleneck. After deploying multiple semi-automated lines and improving our original lines, we have largely overcome this bottleneck. Consequently, we now expect to reach a module production rate of 5,000 car sets per week even before we install the new automated line designed and built by Tesla in Germany. Still, once installed, this new automated module line should significantly lower manufacturing costs. Our automation team in Germany is currently focusing on further capacity expansion where needed.
We continue to target Model 3 production of approximately 5,000 per week in about two months, although our prior experience has demonstrated the difficulty of accurately forecasting specific production rates at specific points in time because of the exponential nature of the ramp. In order to achieve this production rate, we plan to take additional
days of downtime during Q2, just like we did in Q1. We have already done this several times during the Model 3 ramp, including once in the third week of April to fix several small, known constraints, enabling higher levels of output. Just before taking this latest downtime, we produced 2,270 Model 3 and 2,024 Model S and Model X vehicles in the prior seven days, which was a new record for us. Furthermore, in the just over two weeks between the beginning of April and the planned downtime, we had produced 4,750 Model 3 vehicles, which was already about half the production of the entire prior quarter. After achieving a production rate of 5,000 per week, we will begin offering new options such as all-wheel-drive and the base model with a standard-sized battery pack.
Once we hit the 5,000 per week milestone, we intend to incorporate our learnings to continue to increase output on our existing manufacturing lines beyond 5,000 units per week, and then in a capital efficient manner to add incremental capacity to ultimately get to a 10,000 unit weekly rate.
We’ve spoken at great length about the “machine that builds the machine” and why it is so important to Tesla’s long-term success. Fundamentally, we believe that thinking about a factory in the same way that people think about the product itself creates the potential for a step change in manufacturing that will create enormous benefits for quality, cost, efficiency and employee safety. It is human nature to take the best of what the automotive industry currently has to offer and assume that is the best that can be done. But we believe in first principles thinking. In the end, this is all about having factories that are producing the world’s highest quality cars as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible, and with as close to zero injuries as we can possibly get. Our automation strategy is key to this and we are as committed to it as ever.
The following information was filed by Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 as an 8K 2.02 statement, which is an earnings press release pertaining to results of operations and financial condition. It may be helpful to assess the quality of management by comparing the information in the press release to the information in the accompanying 10-Q Quarterly Report statement of earnings and operation as management may choose to highlight particular information in the press release.
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