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Tesla CEO aims for profit in 2013
January 14, 2013 / 2:31 AM / in 5 years

Tesla CEO aims for profit in 2013

DETROIT (Reuters) - Tesla Motors Inc, maker of the Model S electric sedan, aims to earn its first profit later this year and launch a cheaper electric vehicle within three to four years, Chief Executive Elon Musk said.

The logo for Tesla Motors is shown at the company headquarters in San Carlos, California June 30, 2008. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

The 10-year-old electric car maker has reached its target production rate for the Model S of 20,000 a year and expects to launch the Model X, a luxury crossover built on the Model S platform, in the second half of 2014, he said.

“Now, the tough thing for Tesla is to actually make a profit for the first time,” Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Sunday, while accepting an award in Detroit. “That‘s, I think, when you start being a real company.”

Musk told reporters that a quarterly profit was more likely toward the end of 2013, rather than the beginning of the year. Analysts expect Tesla to show a profit of 6 cents per share in the third quarter of 2013, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“I‘m hoping we’ll have a profitable quarter this year,” Musk said after the event held a day before a media preview of the Detroit auto show. “Shame on us if we can’t achieve that.”

The automaker, founded by Musk, went public in 2010. The Model S is the company’s second-generation vehicle, after the Roadster electric sports car. The Model S starts at nearly $60,000 before a federal tax credit.

Tesla is also working on a third-generation vehicle that would cost around $30,000 to $35,000, Musk told reporters. The vehicle will be smaller than the Model S and roughly the size of BMW’s 3-series sedan.

Tesla’s lineup costs between $60,000 and $120,000, representing the “sweet spot” of demand for electric vehicles, J.P. Morgan analyst Ryan Brinkman said in a research note last month.

Brinkman expressed concerns about Tesla’s cheaper EV, saying demand for mass-market electric cars was “spottier.”

Reporting By Deepa Seetharaman; additional reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Paul Tait and Stephen Coates

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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