Tesla Model S

Quarterly shareholder letters, with accompanying financial results, are an opportunity for companies to crow about their recent progress and instill excitement about future expectations. Tesla Motor's latest such release reveals it's coop is rife with roosters in full song. And for good reason.

The California automaker announced today it earned $46 million in 4th quarter of 2013 on a non-GAAP basis – under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), which calculates leasing and stock-based employee remuneration differently, it actually lost $16 million – selling 6,892 very lovely Model S electric sedans in the process. Further, it passed its predicted 25 percent gross profit margin on its cars, hitting 25.8 percent on a non-GAAP basis. This means, for the fiscal year of 2013 it sold 22,477 vehicles in total and had over 2.5 billion in (non-GAAP) sales, which includes, of course, supply and development deals with Toyota and Daimler.

TSLA has jumped to a record high in the $217 neighborhood.

That's pretty durned good, and the stock market would seem to agree. With the financials results dropping just after the NASDAQ's close, the price for TSLA has jump around 12 percent – over $23 as of this writing – to a record high in the $217 neighborhood. Those share price increases aren't just based on past performance, though. The info drop also included plenty of things to indicate the future bodes well. The company expects both sales and production to continue to rise throughout 2014, with a new assembly line expected to help churn out 1,000 cars per week in the 3rd quarter and profit margins projected to hit 28 percent by the end of the year.

On the demand side, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk stated during the conference call that he doesn't expect the company to be able to meet the demand that's coming from China. Its new Beijing store is now the company's biggest and busiest and deliveries don't even begin until spring. While European sales are a little slower than anticipated, the exec said he believes it will improve as soon as the company irons out a few technical difficulties that have arisen with charging amongst the different territories there. Apparently, not all power grids operate in exactly the same way.
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Speaking of reservations for the upcoming Model X SUV, Elon said demand is high. Quote: "If you are going fishing, fish are actually jumping in the boat." That vehicle is only expected to start reaching customers next spring.

Tesla will release more information on its giga-plan next week.

One future topic that wasn't widely discussed during the call was the Tesla Gigafactory. This battery-building facility is expected to be completed in a similar time frame as the more affordable Tesla Model E and supply the renewables industry as well as power cars. Musk did mention that the company would be releasing a lot more information on its giga-plan next week. You can read the shareholder letter here (PDF) or browse its pages in our gallery below. You can compare these earning results with the first three of 2013 here, here, and here.