Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk dances onstage during a delivery event for Tesla China-made Model 3 cars in Shanghai, China January 7, 2020.
Aly Song | Reuters
Here’s how the company did versus expectations:
- Earnings: $2.14 adjusted vs. $1.72 per share expected.
- Revenue: $7.38 billion versus $7.02 billion, expected according to Refinitiv.
Tesla said it expects positive cash flow and net income on a continuing basis going forward, with possible exceptions as it launches and ramps up production for new products.
The company’s automotive gross margins were down slightly year-over-year and sequentially at 22.5% for the quarter. The company said it had already begun a production ramp for Model Y, its newest crossover SUV, at its Fremont, California car plant. The company also has plans to build the Model Y eventually at a factory it plans to build in Brandernburg, Germany in 2021.
For 2020, Tesla said vehicle deliveries should “comfortably exceed 500,000 units.”
On the energy storage and solar side of Tesla’s business, the company said it deployed 54 MW of solar in Q4, up sequentially by 26% and contributing to $436 million in revenue for the segment. It made even more money in the quarter, $580 million, from services and other business, which includes everything from repairing its customers’ cars to selling merchandise to fans.
The company guided that solar and storage deployments should grow at least 50% in 2020.
Tesla had already reported deliveries of 112,000 vehicles globally during the fourth quarter, a quarterly best for the company. That number significantly topped Wall Street estimates, and hit the low-end of Musk’s year-end sales goal.
One way Tesla achieved profitability in Q4 was by operating fairly lean on the retail and service side of its business, including repair shops and Superchargers both.
Tesla only added 4% more stores and service locations to its operations, sequentially, representing 13% more year-over-year. According to its Q4 2019 report, it now has 429 of these locations. Tesla grew its mobile service fleets year-over-year by 81% however. It now operates 743 mobile service units, it said, just 3% more than it had last quarter.
The company now operates 1,821 Supercharger stations, amounting to 16,104 individual connections where Tesla drivers can charge their cars when they are away from home. That’s just a 10% increase from Q3 2019, and an increase of 28% in charging locations, and 34% increase in connectors year-over-year for a growing customer base.
Shares in Tesla have risen by more than 120% since the company’s Q3 2019 earnings update in October last year. At that time, Tesla notched a surprise profitable quarter following deep spending cuts, expansion of Model 3 sales outside the U.S. and the recognition of at least $30 million in revenue related to an Autopilot update that brought Tesla vehicles a so-called Smart Summon capability.
Tesla continued to rally after that update, with investors bullish about its prospects in China, especially. The company opened a car plant in Shanghai ahead of schedule. Executives are expected to offer guidance in consideration of the coronavirus epidemic impacting the factory and sales, potentially, in mainland China.
Tesla’s earnings call is scheduled for 6.30pm ET on Wednesday.