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Tesla reports first quarterly profit since 2016, plans new ride-sharing service

28 October 2018

Tesla actually bumped its reporting date by almost two weeks, Forbes reports, while many observers believed it meant the company had good news, or that it didn't want to be buried under the coverage of US midterm elections.

In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Tesla said it had "received a voluntary request for documents from the Department of Justice about its public guidance for the Model 3 ramp" earlier this year and was "cooperative in responding to it". The automaker made 5,300 Model 3s during the final week of the third quarter, less than the weekly goal of 6,000 it had set for the end of August.

"Q3 2018 was a truly historic quarter for Tesla", said the flamboyant Musk, who also heads SpaceX.

The vast majority of cars traded in by Model 3 buyers are non-premium models priced new at less than $35,000.

Management walked back its 10,000/week production target and instead focused on hitting 7,000, which could lead to lower production estimates from the Bulls for 2019-2020. Some analysts have questioned that position, given the funding needs for the many projects on Tesla's radar, which include a Model Y SUV, a heavy-duty truck and a new factory in China.

Early last year, Tesla announced plans to produce up to 5,000 Model 3s a week by the end of that year. Production numbers fell within the range Tesla had forecasted in the previous quarter. "Further, we believe the strength the company saw this quarter was aided by higher priced Model 3 variants and believe the eventual $US35,000 price point on this vehicle may make it more hard for TSLA to see similar tailwinds".

"Model 3 is attracting customers of both premium and non-premium brands, making it a truly mainstream product", Musk said, adding that the company's "earnings profile has flipped dramatically". And after a rocky start, everything did work out for the electric vehicle company. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 62.18% of the company's stock.

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Tesla shares got a boost earlier this week when a high-profile stock short-seller shifted gears to say the electric auto maker is "destroying the competition".

Free cash flow is a measure of how Tesla's "cash in the bank" is changing quarter by quarter.

At issue is whether Musk knowingly lied about the company's production capability to sway investors' opinions.

Labor hours per Model 3 decreased by more than 30% quarter over quarter, falling for the first time below the Model S and X levels.

"I know for sure Tesla will operate its own ride-hailing service", Musk said.

On average, Tesla produced about 4,300 Model 3 vehicles per week, delivering a total of 56,065 in the quarter. The exact statement was as follows: "In order to significantly increase the affordability of Model 3, we have made a decision to accelerate our manufacturing timeline in China".

Having no side mirrors is a growing trend in the world of concept cars that will surely make it to road-safe vehicles sooner rather than later.

Tesla reports first quarterly profit since 2016, plans new ride-sharing service