Tesla Inc. posted a surprise quarterly profit on Wednesday, making good on CEO Elon Musk's promise, and said it was "highly confident" in exceeding 360,000 EV deliveries this year.
The electric automaker said net income for the third quarter fell 54 percent to $143 million, but shares in the company nonetheless soared 16.2 percent to $295.82 in early trading on Thursday because Wall Street expected a loss for the quarter. The stock price on Wednesday reached $307 in after-hours trading.
On a per-share basis, Tesla posted a profit of $1.86 per share. Analysts were expecting a loss of 42 cents per share.
"Tesla's profitable third quarter is a great show of persistence," Edmunds analyst Jeremy Acevedo said in an e-mailed statement. "Domestic sales might be down but the company has sustained steady demand for its vehicles in spite of waning federal tax credits and the introduction of a slew so-called 'Tesla-killers' (by competitors) this year."
Total revenue fell 8 percent to $6.3 billion. Operating cash flow, less capital expenditures, fell 58 percent to $371 million.
The sale of regulatory credits to other automakers generated $134 million of revenue, a 29 percent drop from the same quarter last year but a 21 percent increase from the second quarter.
Tesla said Model 3 sedan production surged 50 percent to 79,837 vehicles and announced that pre-production has begun at the company's new plant in China ahead of schedule.
"We are already producing full vehicles on a trial basis, from body, to paint and to general assembly, at Gigafactory Shanghai," the company said. "We have cleared initial milestones toward our manufacturing license and are working towards finalizing the license and meeting other governmental requirements before we begin ramping production and delivery of vehicles from Shanghai."
Model S and X production fell 39 percent to 16,318 units.