Tesla puts pedal to the metal, 500,000 cars planned in 2018

Wed May 4, 2016 7:39pm EDT
 
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By Kshitiz Goliya and Alexandria Sage

(Reuters) - Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O: Quote) said it was stepping up production plans for its upcoming Model 3 mass-market sedan and would build a total of 500,000 all-electric vehicles in 2018, two years ahead of schedule, but warned that spending will ramp up in tandem.

The company, which three months ago aimed to make a net profit in the final quarter of this year, gave no profit target on Wednesday and said capital spending would rise about 50 percent more than previously forecast this year, to around $2.25 billion.

New shares and debt will likely be issued at some point, Chief Executive Elon Musk added.

Tesla, which produces the luxury Model S sedan and Model X sport utility vehicle, aims to become a high-volume automaker in a matter of years and already is valued on par with some of the biggest car companies in the world.

Shares of the company, run by tech entrepreneur Musk, rose more than 5 percent in after hours trade after it announced its first-quarter results and beefed-up production targets.

Musk's ambitions for clean cars, as well as rocket and solar businesses, have attracted a personal following often compared to that of the late Steve Jobs, but skeptics are also legion.

Tesla reported a wider first-quarter net loss, although results broadly beat Wall Street targets. It also said it was on track to deliver 80,000 to 90,000 electric vehicles this year, as it accelerated its target for Model 3 output.

Tigress Financial Partners analyst Ivan Feinseth, who rates Tesla shares "neutral," said growing pains were to be expected while Tesla ramps up, but the company's cars were "close to perfect."   Continued...

 
Tesla Motors' mass-market Model 3 electric cars are seen in this handout picture from Tesla Motors on March 31, 2016. REUTERS/Tesla Motors/Handout via Reuters/File Photo