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Musk's money nightmare: Tesla just lost $1 billion

Tesla has had a shaky start to 2019
Andrew Chesterton
Contributing journalist

26 Apr 2019 • 2 min read

It seems Tesla's run of profitable quarters is over, with the EV company losing a staggering US$702 million (approximately $1b in Australian dollars) in the first three months of 2019.

Teslas boss Elon Musk had warned investors and analysts the company would return a loss in the first quarter of the year, but it seems the staggering sum still caught onlookers off-guard, with American financial outlets describing the results as "apocalyptic".

The results follow a 31 per cent slump in Tesla sales so far this year, with the company delivering 63,000 vehicles in between January and March. And the pain shows no immediate sign of abating, with Musk warning of another potential loss in the second quarter of 2019, but tipping a return to profit in the third quarter.

But according to US analysts, Tesla has entered what they're describing as a "new normal", owing to increased EV competition, as well as a cut to the federal tax concessions offered in the USA to buyers of battery-electric vehicles.

"None of these issues, by themselves, would cause the severe drop in sales and revenue Tesla experienced in Q1, but the combination was powerful," the executive publisher at Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader, Karl Brauer, told CNN.

"Even more troubling? None of these issues are going away. This is the new normal for Tesla."

Musk, on the other hand, says increased international demand for Tesla products in untapped markets, as well as a much-publicised push into the robo-taxi space, will return the EV company to the black before the end of 2019. Musk also says "unforeseen challenges" were behind the drop in delivered vehicles over the past three months.

"We also have a lot of markets where we haven't yet tapped into demand, especially the Model 3," Musk said in a call with investors.

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