(Adds sales details, CEO comments, background, bylines)
By Paul Lienert and Prateek Chatterjee
April 1 Electric-car maker Tesla Motors Inc
said it expects to report a first-quarter profit on
both a net and adjusted basis following stronger-than-expected
sales of its Model S sedan, sending its shares soaring more than
19 percent in early trading on Monday.
Tesla also said it was dropping plans to produce a low-end
version of the Model S due to lack of demand, and will focus
instead on higher-margin editions of the car.
Model S sales exceeded 4,750 units in the quarter, higher
than the 4,500 Tesla had forecast, the company said on Monday.
CEO and founder Elon Musk tweeted early Monday that the
company will make a separate announcement on Tuesday that "is
arguably more important" than its new financial guidance.
Tesla said in January that it would be profitable in the
first quarter when expenses related to non-cash options and
warrants were excluded.
The automaker has focused in recent months on building and
selling high-end versions of the Model S, with larger battery
packs that provide more range.
The top-of-the-line Tesla Model S Performance model costs
nearly $96,000. The base Model S, which Tesla is dropping, has a
starting price of just over $60,000.
Tesla said only 4 percent of customer orders were for the
base Model S, which was to be equipped with a 40 kWh battery
pack. Those customers instead will receive a 60 kWh battery
pack, with the output and range limited by software to 40 kWh,
at no additional cost.
The carmaker went public in 2010 and has narrowed its losses
as production of the Model S sedan ramped up late last year.
"There have been many car startups over the past several
decades, but profitability is what makes a company real," Musk
said. "Tesla is here to stay and keep fighting the electric car
Tesla shares rose $7.38, or about 19 percent, to $45.31 in
early Nasdaq trading.
(Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Maureen Bavdek)