The Tesla Model S in the Globe parking lot.
Photograph by Boston Globe via Getty Images
By John Kell
August 10, 2015

Tesla’s Model S electric sedan celebrated its third anniversary during the second quarter of 2015. But the automaker is losing more than $4,000 on every Model S it sells.

That figure comes by way of a Reuters analysis, which found that Tesla (TSLA) burned through $359 million in cash last quarter even while when luxury vehicles are hot sellers. Tesla had just $1.15 billion on hand as of June 30, down from $2.67 billion a year earlier.

Meanwhile, bigger and more established auto makers like General Motors (GM) and Ford (F) have been busy rebuilding their balance sheets since the recession badly bruised the auto industry, sending both GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy. GM and Ford have benefited from selling more larger trucks and SUVs, which command higher prices and are more profitable than smaller cars. Tesla is also working on an electric SUV, named the Model X and set for release this fall.

 

Though Tesla’s shares have been skyrocketing since 2013, it still remains a tiny player in the global auto industry. The company produced just 12,807 vehicles last quarter. It is only expecting to deliver between 50,000 to 55,000 Model S and Model X cars this year. By way of comparison, General Motors sells more than 9 million vehicles a year.

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