Tesla to hike electric car output to 'a few million' by 2025

Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:04pm EST
 
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By Paul Lienert and Joe White

DETROIT (Reuters) - Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O: Quote) plans to boost production of electric cars to "at least a few million a year" by 2025 from fewer than 40,000 last year, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said Tuesday.

Speaking at an industry conference in Detroit, Musk said Tesla may not be profitable until 2020. In addition, Tesla sales in China were unexpectedly weak in the fourth quarter. He blamed a misperception by city-dwelling Chinese consumers that they might have difficulty charging their electric cars.

"We’ll fix the China issue and be in pretty good shape probably in the middle of the year," he said.

Tesla shares fell 7 percent in after-hours trade to $190.22 from a close of $204.25 on the Nasdaq. During 2014, Tesla stock rose nearly 48 percent.

Musk, who last year said Tesla will begin phasing in "autopilot" features on its Model S sedan, predicted that the company will be first to market with a fully self-driving car, but likely not until after 2020. While Tesla may have a driverless car ready in five years, the vehicles may not receive regulatory approval for another two to three years after that, he said.

Musk also said the company's long-delayed Model X sport utility vehicle will be launched this summer, while the lower-priced, higher-volume Model 3 is on track for a 2017 introduction.

The Model 3 will be critical to Tesla's goal of reaching an annual sales level of 500,000 vehicles a year by 2020, a target which Musk also reaffirmed.

If Tesla hits its target of a few million vehicles by 2025, it would put the company on par with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU.N: Quote), which sold 2 million vehicles last year in the United States.   Continued...

 
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk talks at the Automotive World News Congress at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, January 13, 2015.   REUTERS/Rebecca Cook