On The Fly: What to watch in Tesla earnings report
Tesla (TSLA) is scheduled to report results of its fourth fiscal quarter after the market close on February 22, with a conference call scheduled for 5:30 pm ET. What to watch: 1. PRODUCTION METRICS, GUIDANCE: Tesla pre-reports vehicle deliveries ahead of its full quarterly reports, but investors will still be watching for confirmation of its production outlook tonight. Tesla previously reported "about 22,200 vehicles" being delivered in the fourth quarter, missing its Q4 delivery target by about 3,000 cars, with the company citing transportation delays as well as "short-term production challenges" associated with a hardware refresh. In Wednesday's report, look for updates on current production trends and Tesla's goal of producing 500,000 cars annually by 2018. 2. MODEL 3, GIGAFACTORY: The Model 3 is a crucial test of Tesla's ability to expand beyond luxury and enthusiast vehicles and into the mass-market. The carmaker has reiterated that it expects volume deliveries of the vehicle in the second half of 2017, though General Motors (GM) has already beaten Tesla to the category with limited deliveries of the Chevy Bolt in mid-December ahead of a wider rollout this year. Expect comments on how Model 3 production and customer reservations are progressing, as well as potential remarks on the Gigafactory, which began producing battery cells in January to support the car's launch. 3. CASH NEEDS, SPENDING: Tesla's growth initiatives remain arguably the key element of the stock's investment story. From mass-market car production, current and future Gigafactory openings, integration of its recent SolarCity acquisition, and the roll-out of home battery systems and proprietary solar roof products, Tesla's ambitions both inspire excitement and raise questions about its heavy cash needs. Watch tonight's report for commentary on expenses as well as guidance related to future capital raises. Additionally, with Tesla stating in November that SolarCity would add to its cash position as early as Q4, look for news on how the solar power company is integrating with and contributing to the business.