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Tesla Motors, Inc. (TSLA)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

February 15, 2011 5:30 p.m. EST


Jeff Evanson – VP, IR

Elon Musk – Chairman, CEO, Chief Product Architect

Deepak Ahuja – CFO


Amir Rozwadowski – Barclays Capital

Jesse Pichel – Jefferies & Co.

Peter Christiansen – Bank of America-Merrill Lynch

Dan Galves – Deutsche Bank

Patrick Archambault – Goldman Sachs

Himanshu Patel – JPMorgan

Andrea James – Dougherty & Co.

Adam Jonas – Morgan Stanley

Ben Kallo – Robert W. Baird

Carter Driscoll – Capstone Investments

Michael Lew – Needham & Co.



Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Tesla Motors Incorporated fourth quarter 2011 financial results Q&A conference call.

(Operator Instructions). As a reminder, today’s conference is being recorded.

Now I would like to turn the program over to Jeff Evanson.

Jeff Evanson

Thank you, Matthew, and good afternoon everyone. Welcome to Tesla Motors’ fourth quarter and full-year 2011 financial results Q&A session. I'm joined today by Elon Musk, Tesla’s Chairman, CEO and Chief Product Architect, and Deepak Ahuja, Tesla’s Chief Financial Officer.

We announced our financial results for the fourth quarter and full year shortly after 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time today. The shareholder letter, financial results and webcast of this Q&A are all available at the company’s Investor Relations website at ir.teslamotors.com.

Like last quarter, this call will consist of some brief remarks by Elon followed by time for questions and answers. We will conduct the Q&A session live, so if you have not already done so, please log in now if you wish to ask a question.

During the course of this call we may discuss our business outlook and make forward-looking statements. Such statements are only predictions based on management’s current expectations. Actual events or results could differ materially due to a number of risks and uncertainties including those mentioned in our most recent Form 10-Q filed with the SEC. Such forward-looking statements represent our views only as of today and should not be relied upon after today. We also disclaim any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

And now let me pass the call to Elon.

Elon Musk

Hello. Welcome. I’ll just make a few comments.

I'm incredibly excited by the sales and the interest in the Model X. When you introduce a product that is really groundbreaking and innovative, you don’t necessarily know how customers are going to react to that, and they reacted incredibly well. From a customer standpoint, the Model X was clearly a homerun and they’re (inaudible) with their dollars by putting down reservations on the Model X. And in fact, if anyone on the call is interested in Model X, I recommend putting down a deposit soon because this is by far the bestselling product in Tesla history by a significant margin. So it’s, yeah, just great.

So, you know, that’s the main thing I wanted to mention. And then the other thing being that we’ve begun work on our first full Mercedes powertrain. Previously we’ve done the battery packs and the chargers; now we’re doing an entire powertrain for Mercedes. As is Tesla policy, we don’t comment on the details of powertrain agreements. We leave that to our strategic partner. So that’s (inaudible) when they want to speak in more detail about that.

But with those introductory comments, let’s jump in to questions.

Question-and-Answer Session


Thank you. (Operator Instructions).

Our first question comes from Amir Rozwadowski at Barclays Capital. Your line is open.

Amir Rozwadowski – Barclays Capital

Thank you very much, gentlemen. And Elon, on the discussion of the Daimler contract, I realize that you folks don’t provide too much color in terms of the partnership, but in the past you have highlighted that you have a number of these discussions underway. Are these the folks that you had suggested could ultimately end up being a pretty significantly sized opportunity? Or should we assume that that is with someone else at the moment?

Elon Musk

Tricky question. I have to break that question part a little bit. There are -- this -- I do expect that this deal will be significant and probably more significant than the sum of all deals we’ve done with Daimler to date. And that’s about all I can say on that front.

And then, are there other fields of significance in discussion? Yes, there are.

Amir Rozwadowski – Barclays Capital

Okay, that’s very helpful. And then if I may, you folks had provided some color in terms of where your revenue -- where you expect your revenues to be in 2012. And certainly as I think you’ve fairly been consistent, that it’s going to be fairly back-half-weighted to the launch of the Model S. I was wondering if you could give us some color in terms of the mix of the Model S reservations that you have so far. In terms of running the numbers, it does seem as though you're going to be delivering on the high-end versions first, and I’d love to hear sort of mix potential, what you guys are factoring for ASPs for your deliveries for the year, or any color along those lines.

Elon Musk

Sure. So I do expect that is going to be weighted towards the higher-end versions of the Model S. And necessarily for the signature series which (inaudible) all the options -- the first 1,000 vehicles. But then even beyond that, we’re -- we don’t deliver regular series with (inaudible) mile range, and then we got to the 230-mile range. And then 160-mile range (inaudible) 2012, early next year. So that’s necessarily going to shift the weighting towards the higher-end version of the Model S.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com