February 11, 2015 / 11:44 PM / in 3 years

Tesla reports fourth-quarter loss, misses sales targets

The logo is seen on a new all-wheel-drive version of the Tesla Model S car in Hawthorne, California October 9, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

DETROIT (Reuters) - Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) missed sales targets and racked up a fourth-quarter loss of $107.6 million as the luxury electric car maker struggled with production and delivery issues on several fronts.

Investors sent shares down nearly 3 percent in after-hours trade.

Tesla on Wednesday reported a loss of 86 cents per share, compared with a year-ago loss of $16.3 million, or 13 cents per share. Revenue in the quarter climbed to $956.7 million, from $615.2 million a year ago.

The California-based maker of luxury electric cars delivered 9,834 vehicles in the quarter. Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk had said in July 2014 the company would deliver 13,000 of its Model S sedans.

Heavy spending on expanding the company’s global sales network and developing the Model X crossover increased operating expenses in the quarter to $336.5 million, from $169.9 million a year ago.

Free cash flow in the quarter was a negative $455.1 million, as cash dwindled to $1.91 billion from $2.37 billion at the end of the third quarter.

Tesla said it built a record 11,627 cars, boosting total production to 35,000 for the year. But the company delivered only 31,655 and said delays would push some deliveries into the first quarter of 2015.

Sales in North America in 2014 were flat, at about 17,400, or 55 percent of the total, Tesla said. About 9,500 cars, or 30 percent, were delivered in Europe. The rest - about 4,750 - went to customers in the Asia Pacific region, including China, where sales began last April.

Musk, in a letter to shareholders on Wednesday, said that “despite initial challenges in China, we remain convinced of the vast potential of this market.”

The company expects to deliver about 55,000 cars globally in 2015, an increase of about 74 percent.

Musk said the company was on target to begin delivering the new Model X in the third quarter. Tesla, which originally planned to launch the Model X in late 2013, has delayed the introduction at least three times.

Shares closed down 1.6 percent to $212.80 on Wednesday and dropped another 3 percent in after-hours trade to $206.40.

Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit

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