Business

Tesla lost $702 million last quarter, snapping its profit streak

Posted April 24, 2019 5:40 p.m. EDT
Updated April 24, 2019 5:54 p.m. EDT

— Tesla's profit streak is over. Big time.

The electric car company said Wednesday that it lost $702 million last quarter.

Wall Street was already bracing for what one analyst called an "apocalyptic" results — but the results were still far worse than expected.

While the company has posted big losses of this size before, analysts surveyed by Refinitiv predicted that Tesla would be about $301 million in the red for the quarter. The actual number was more than double that amount.

Tesla stock dipped slightly after earnings were released, but later edged up about 1%.

Tesla had posted back-to-back profits in the previous two quarters. Last quarter, for example,Tesla recorded a profit of $139 million on sales of $7.2 billion.

The company already revealed earlier this month that it delivered about 63,000 vehicles to customers in the first three months of 2019 — a 31% drop compared to the prior quarter, and the single largest decline Tesla has ever reported.

A few things were behind the drop off: First, a $7,500 federal tax credit was cut in half for Tesla vehicles at the beginning of the year. Second, Tesla encountered "many challenges" ramping up deliveries of its vehicles abroad.

Tesla expects its delivery figures to get a large boost, likely next quarter, after it solves those issues.

Slowing sales are bad news for Tesla because the company needs cash in order to pay down its sizable debts. Tesla said it ended last quarter with $2.2 billion of cash on hand, which the company had earlier described as "sufficient."

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.