Tesla Inc. reported its second-consecutive quarterly profit and said plans for the Model Y crossover launch are ahead of schedule.
The electric-vehicle maker said it earned a net profit of $105 million in the final three months of 2019, which followed a surprise third-quarter profit that kick-started a meteoric rise in the company’s shares.
Tesla shares surged 10 percent to $637.52 in morning trading.
Net income during the latest period fell 25 percent from the fourth quarter of 2018, when Tesla reported a $139.5 million net profit. The latest profit was aided by $133 million in sales from regulatory credits, up 40 percent from the same period a year ago.
Total revenue in the quarter rose 2 percent to $7.4 billion, with automotive revenue rising 1 percent to $6.4 billion.
“2019 was a turning point for Tesla,” the automaker said in a statement. “We demonstrated strong organic demand for Model 3, returned to GAAP profitability in [the second half] and generated $1.1 billion of free cash flow for the year. We achieved strong cash generation through persistent cost control across the business.”
The company has tightened cost controls while investing in a new factory in Shanghai, a Semi truck, an electric pickup truck, a new generation of the Tesla Roadster and automated driving features.
The company said fourth-quarter operating expenses rose less than 1 percent to $1.03 billion.
Tesla reported record fourth-quarter deliveries of 112,095, including more than 92,000 Model 3 sedans. Tesla said it “should comfortably exceed 500,000 deliveries” in 2020 and expects “limited volumes of Tesla Semi this year.”
“For most of 2019, nearly all orders came from new buyers that did not hold a prior reservation, demonstrating significant reach beyond those who showed early interest,” the company said. “Amazingly, this was accomplished without any spend on advertising.”
The company said 2019 revenue growth was aided by higher deliveries, offset by increased lease mix, additional Model 3 sales and adjustments to vehicle prices.
“These changes have resulted in a reduction to the average selling price relative to 2018,” Tesla said. “We do not expect average selling prices to change significantly in the near term, which means volume growth and revenue growth should correlate more closely this year.”
Model Y output started this month at the company’s Fremont, Calif., plant and deliveries are expected to begin by late March, Tesla said.
“The Model Y’s design might not have broken the internet like the Cybertruck did during its unveil, but with its competitive pricing and range, it has the potential to be Tesla’s best-selling vehicle and is paramount to the company’s long term success,” Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds, said in a statement.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the Model Y could outsell the Model 3, Model S and Model X combined.
Tesla generated free cash flow of $1 billion in the fourth quarter, although capital expenditures rose due to investment in a new Shanghai assembly plant and Model Y output in Fremont.
The automaker’s cash on hand rose by $930 million during the quarter to $6.3 billion.