Tesla Misses Big on Q4 Earnings, but Sees Sunnier 2016

Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors ( TSLA ) reported Q4 earnings results after the bell Wednesday, and initially the results did not look pretty: an bottom-line miss of -$1.29 per share (accounting for stock-based compensation and other before non-recurring items [BNRI]) on revenues of $1.75 billion. The sales number only slightly missed the $1784 million we had expected, but the bottom line was down big from the -$0.34 per share the Zacks consensus had anticipated.

That said, after-market trading brought Tesla shares up 5 percent immediately after the earnings report was released. The reason behind this was Tesla's auto deliveries in 2015 and projections for 2016. The company delivered 17,272 Model S cars (up 76 percent year over year), which was above expectations, and 206 Model X SUVs, which was right in-line.

Further, Tesla expects deliveries of 80-90K automobiles total (Models S and X combined) for 2016, on-pace with its reiterated run rate guidance of 1600-1800 cars per week. Tesla also reaffirmed new sales growth of 60-80 percent for the coming year, and the company is expecting a net cash flow positive 2016. Its Gigafactory is also on schedule, which will become the biggest lithium ion generator in the world when it finally comes on line. (For more on Tesla's Gigafactory, click here: So What Actually Is Tesla's Gigafactory?

Tesla's anticipated Model 3 finally has an unveiling date: March 31, 2016, with expected deliveries to begin in late 2017. The most remarkable aspect of the Model 3 at this juncture is its reaffirmed price tag: $35K, not including clean energy incentives. Aside from the Gigafactory, the Model 3 appears to be the game-changer from Tesla, which would help explain the company's market cap of roughly $19 billion.

It's been a rough year for Tesla (and a rough week for CEO Elon Musk, who also owns SolarCity [ SCTY ], which tanked following its earnings release earlier in the week), down roughly 34 percent year over year prior to this significant after-market surge -- +14 percent as of this report -- and a full 40 percent just since the start of 2016. Today's letter to shareholders marks the first time projections have gone up for Tesla looking forward, and Musk's forthcoming conference call should also generate some positive waves.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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