Business, Economics and Jobs

Electric car maker Tesla posts first quarterly profit with $11 million


Tesla Model S wins Motor Trend car of the year, despite presidential contender Mitt Romney saying Tesla was a losing company during the campaign.


Justin Sullivan

High-end electric car maker Tesla posted its first quarterly profit on Wednesday with $11 million. 

It was welcome news for the auto maker, run by billionaire Elon Musk, which has been struggling against years of losses. 

Tesla Motors Inc. recorded earnings of $562 million, up 83 percent from the same period a year ago. First-quarter net income totaled $11.2 million, compared to a loss of $89.9 million last year. 

Excluding some items, the profit was 12 cents a share, far higher than analysts estimates of 4 cents a share.

The 10-year-old company, based in Palo Alto, Calif., initially expected to sell 4,500 of its Model S electric cars in the first quarter. Instead, Tesla said it sold roughly 4,900 of the cars. 

The vehicles sell for between $70,000 and $100,000 depending on the features. 

Tesla is expected to sell about 21,000 cars in the full year, about 1,000 more than an earlier goal. 

More from GlobalPost: Motor Trend car of the year goes to... Tesla Model S

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn’t somewhat surprising to see they’ve been able to turn a profit so quickly" on the Model S, Alec Gutierrez, an industry analyst for Kelley Blue Book, told Bloomberg.

"It has the right stuff to be a strong player in the industry," said Gutierrez.

The Model S won the Motor Trend magazine "Car of the Year" award in 2012. 

Musk, whose net work is listed by Forbes Magazine at $2.7 billion, has already invested more than $100 million of his own money into the company.