Tesla Stock Punished by High Costs and Delayed Production

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Tesla Model 3 production ramp-up the key issue in this evening's results statement

The company said Wednesday that milestone is being kicked ahead another three months, to the end of the first quarter of 2018. However, investors didn't like what they saw and sent TSLA shares down almost 4% to $308 in after-hours trading Wednesday.

That's the message this week from Nomura Instinet, which reiterated its Buy rating on the electric automaker, noting Tesla will eventually figure out its production issues with the new Model 3 sedan.

Although Tesla has made inroads among luxury auto buyers with the advanced technology and innovative design in its Model S sedan and Model X SUV, it is the Model 3 on which its long-term viability rests.

Tesla said in a letter to shareholders it expects to achieve a production rate of 5,000 Model 3 cars per week by late in the first quarter of 2018.

The main production constraint Tesla had faced was at the battery module assembly line, where it said it had redesigned some of the automated processes and was now hoping throughput could increase.

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla charging station is seen in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S. on September 28, 2017.

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Tesla ended Q3 with a cash balance of $3.5B.

Tesla's soaring stock has made the company the second-most valuable USA automaker behind General Motors Co (GM.N), which had annual net profit of $9.4 billion in 2016. But investors' eyes were on the Model 3, the $35,000 vehicle that's meant to move Tesla from a luxury niche automaker into the mainstream. In addition to redirecting some of Tesla's best engineering talent to the factory, Musk said he is personally attacking the problem alongside his employees. It also spent $325 million to repay a credit facility in the quarter.

Last month, Tesla reported it delivered 26,150 vehicles in the third quarter, a 4.5 percent rise on the same period of 2016.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk had promised that the Model 3, which has more than 500,000 potential buyers on its waiting list, would be simpler to make than Tesla's previous vehicles and not plagued with the same delays.

On an adjusted basis, Tesla lost $2.92 a share, which was wider than expected, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

The news wasn't entirely bad for Tesla, however, the carmaker reporting revenues for the third quarter of $2.98 billion, a record, and up from the consensus forecast of $2.95 billion. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 1,736 shares of the company's stock, valued at $589,354.64.

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