Tesla Motors, for the first time in its 10-year history, has turned a quarterly profit. Sales at Tesla rose to $562 million, up 83 percent from last quarter, and this time some of that money is actually flowing into Tesla's coffers. While Tesla lost $89.9 million last quarter, on Thursday the company reported an $11.2 million profit.
Though Tesla has been around for a decade, it's still a startup of sorts, paying $13 million on its $465 million loan from the Dept. of Energy in the first quarter. Now, though, Tesla is actually selling cars. The Model S appears to have won over some skeptical consumers who previously were unsure they could live with an electric car as their daily driver. Tesla shipped 4,900 Model S sedans in North America in the three-month period, but it also spent $101 million — with much of that cost going toward building out retail showrooms and a service network. "We're profitable in Q1 despite spending quite a lot," CEO Elon Musk said, adding that these are costs that will go down over time.
"We're profitable in Q1 despite spending quite a lot."Tesla estimated that it would ship another 5,000 cars in the second quarter of the year, and that more than 15,000 vehicles in the US, and more than 21,000 worldwide, would be shipped this year overall. Musk said he also wants to open up 15 more Tesla galleries around the world before the end of 2013. By the end of Q1, Tesla had opened 34 galleries and 41 service locations. Model X production is still on pace to begin in late 2014. This year, Tesla expects to spend about another $200 million building up its business, with most of that going toward boosting the company's manufacturing capabilities for the Model S, and expanding its retail and service network. Musk noted that it should be able to pull all this off without the need for more government loans or investor money. "We don't have any plans right now to raise funding," he said. "It's always possible that we could be opportunistic about raising a round. But we've spent no time on that at all."