General Motors earned an operating profit of $1,418 for every vehicle it sold around the world in the first quarter. Ford Motor Co. earned a little less: $1,174.
Tesla, by the same calculation, is in a whole different league, and not in a good way. Its per-vehicle profit comes in at minus $15,855.
For every car Tesla sold, it lost more than a year's pay at a minimum-wage job.
But hold on, Tesla groupies, before you bombard me with insults. (At least read the rest of this first, please. There's a helpful note at the end you can use to email me.)
Yes, that's an eye-popping figure, and one that's not sustainable for a company that wants to be in business for very long.
But no, that's not, on its own, a fair assessment of Tesla, an automaker that's essentially still in its infancy.