Tesla Lost Some Spark in 2014: Will This Year Offer a Needed Recharge?
After months of disappointing financial news from Tesla, the company reported big losses in 2014 as the company continues to invest in its future. In the fourth quarter alone, Tesla lost $108 million, compared to an overall loss of $74 million for all of 2013. The company took a beating in the fourth quarter against a strong dollar, low oil prices, production delays, and trouble catching on in Asian markets. This added up to make 2014 one of the most difficult years in recent memory for the company, with an annual loss of $294 million.
Until yesterday’s announcement, Tesla had surpassed industry expectations for the past seven quarters, so this announcement is a major disappointment for the company, as its stock plunged in the hours after the report. The company is in a transitional phase, and sales are sluggish as it continues to expand and develop two new models in an increasingly tough market for electric cars. Tesla has a unique method of reporting sales numbers, and while the Big Three report sales to dealerships, Tesla reports direct sales to customers, giving unique insight into the current status of the company.
The company exceeded production expectations by building 11,627 Model S cars in the fourth quarter (the brand’s only car in production), and reaching its original manufacturing goal of 35,000 cars in 2014. Still, the fourth quarter delivery of 9,834 cars meant that 31,655 cars were delivered to customers for the year – well short of their 33,000 delivery goal. Tesla’s Chief Executive Elon Musk cited “customers being on vacation, severe winter weather, and shipping problems (with actual ships)” as reasons for the fourth quarter shortfall. According to the company, 1,400 cars built last quarter will be delivered in the first quarter of 2015.