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Tesla surprises both the fans and the haters by posting a profit in Q3

In the first half of 2019, Tesla lost 1.1 billion dollars — but in the third quarter of this year the company turned its fortunes around by posting a $143 million dollar profit. This was a surprise to even bullish backers of the EV company, and could mark the beginning of profitability for the firm. The news was relayed today when CEO Elon Musk held a Q3 earnings call with investors and customers.

During the call, Musk restated his pledge to sell more than 360,000 vehicles in 2019. That would require sales of 105,000 vehicles during the last three months of this year. Last month, Tesla reported that in Q3 it delivered 95,200 vehicles. This was a record for the company, and came in above Wall Street expectations. An increase of 10,000 or so vehicles seems like a small number, but still represents a significant increase for a company that put itself in “production hell” getting to those record numbers in the first place.

Today’s earnings and profit surprise marks two positive announcements in a row for the company, and investors are reacting by increasing the stock price by 18% to $299.41 in after-hours trading. Also buoying traders’ good feelings are the upcoming Model Y, the Tesla Truck, and the just-approved Chinese factory. This last bit of news will save Tesla a fortune in shipping costs and allow the company to quickly react to China’s fluctuating EV market.

In previous quarters, record deliveries of the Model 3 have led to lower profits because Tesla makes a smaller margin on its more affordable model. The Model S has always been the money-maker for Tesla, and its sales have not climbed anything like those of the Model 3. Today’s earning’s report hopefully shows that Elon and his managers have found a way to carve more profit out of the Model 3, or at least ironed out inefficiencies in production and delivery.

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