Tesla loses $100 million after Chinese problems

Butterfly flaps wings, quarterly results caught in red-splattered hurricane

Elon Musk was expecting it, but a little trouble in big China has hit Tesla's bottom line hard.

The company lost $107.6m in Q4 2014, up from a loss of $74.7m for the previous quarter. Musk blames this on a weak market in China and delays with getting the new P85D to customers

“We built 11,627 vehicles in Q4, thus achieving our production target of 35,000 Model S vehicles in 2014. This required a herculean effort, because we held back release of our Performance All-Wheel Drive Dual Motor car (P85D) to ensure it would be a truly great experience for owners,” said Musk in a public letter to Tesla shareholders.

“While we were able to recover the lost production by end of the quarter,” he continued, “delivering those cars was physically impossible due to a combination of customers being on vacation, severe winter weather and shipping problems (with actual ships). As a result, about 1,400 vehicles slipped December and were delivered in Q1.”

The company has 10,000 orders for the Model S and 20,000 reservations for the “Falcon winged” Model X. In his letter to shareholders (PDF), Musk says that the Model X is on target, although it should be borne in mind that the target has moved a couple of times.

The company is now no longer selling the “astonishing” P85+, in the UK and instead is taking orders for the significantly quicker P85D. The company hopes to have some left-hand drive demonstrators in Blighty by March, with deliveries currently scheduled for May. ®

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