When you’re constantly writing about stocks, sometimes you get it right, and sometimes you get it wrong.
In the case of luxury electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) I’ve been right for months — and now it’s time to take a well-earned victory lap.
On Wednesday after the closing bell, Tesla reported its first-ever profit and its first quarterly period of positive operating cash flow. Here’s how the outstanding numbers shook out for the maker of, in my opinion, one of the best new vehicles to debut in over a decade, the Model S sedan.
During Q1, the company saw revenue of $562 million, which trounced expectations for a top line of just $500 million. Cash flow from operations was $64 million, and gross margin was a robust 17%, which means Tesla Motors has streamlined cost involved in per-unit production of its vehicles. In fact, Tesla’s earnings release said that it reduced the hours needed to build its Model S by almost 40% from December through March.
As for the Model S itself, the company said it delivered 4,900 units in Q1, above its own forecast for 4,750 units.
The great Model S sales come as no surprise to this car enthusiast and amateur racecar driver. I recently test drove a friend’s Model S and it was a most impressive, exhilarating experience. I felt like I was in the luxury cabin of an Aston Martin, only underneath me I had the smooth power delivery and control from the electric motor and finely tuned suspension that made me feel like I was floating through the air in a glider.
The experience actually prompted me to go shopping for a Tesla, which was an interesting experience more akin to browsing around at the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Store than taking a trip to my local Ford (NYSE:F) dealership.
Of course, my main concern with Tesla isn’t so much behind the wheel of a Model S, but behind the wheel of TSLA shares.
On that front, the company continues to light it up.
Click to Enlarge Following Wednesday’s blowout numbers, TSLA shares soared; a little more than an hour into Thursday trading, they were up roughly 20%. That’s what I call heavy acceleration in a stock.
It’s also what I call a company that has proven both the naysayers and the shorts wrong.
The short interest in TSLA has been extremely heavy, as many have bet against the company, and against its genius founder, Elon Musk. But yesterday’s Q1 numbers certainly silenced a lot of critics who questioned the company and its potential to make money. With today’s price action, the shorts are facing a true “tsunami of hurt,” which is precisely what Musk predicted would happen back in September.
To make this victory lap complete, I’ll remind you that in July 2012 I told you that I thought Tesla shares were the growth story in the auto sector, and investors who were looking for alpha in the auto space needed to think about electrifying their portfolios.
That prognosis has proved prescient, so for those who took that advice, you’re now in a position to cash in some of those profits and treat yourself to a new Tesla.
Just don’t take all your profits. Tesla’s not done yet.
As of this writing, Jim Woods was long TSLA, although he hasn’t yet purchased a Model S.