Tesla share prices declined 5 percent in after-hours trading today, due to a grimmer-than-expected quarterly report that highlighted snags in the production ramp-up for the company’s make-or-break Model 3 electric car.
The company reported its biggest-ever net quarterly loss, $619.4 mllion or $3.70 per share. It also said it expects to hit a target of making 5,000 Model 3 cars by next March, rather than by December as promised earlier. Only 260 Model 3’s were built during the third quarter of this year.
Tesla said the biggest source of the delay is the assembly line for the Model 3’s battery module at the company’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. “The combined complexity of module design and its automated manufacturing process has taken this line longer to ramp than expected,” the company said in the third-quarter report.
During a conference call with analysts, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he “was really depressed about three or four weeks ago,” but suggested that the snags were being addressed.
“Now I can see a sort of clear path to sunshine,” he said.
An estimated 500,000 customers have put down reservations for Model 3 cars, which carry a base price of $35,000.
On other fronts:
- Musk said journalists who made a big deal over the recent dismissal of 700 Tesla employees “should be ashamed of themselves.” He portrayed the job losses as part of the normal performance review process for Tesla’s 33,000-employee workforce.
- Tesla is likely to start making cars in China in about three years, Musk said.
- The unveiling of the electric-powered Semi truck is still on track for Nov. 16.