NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Tesla Motors (TSLA) may have gotten production issues under control, helping the company in the long term. But investors are likely to be concerned about quarterly fluctuations in delivery and cash burn in the short term.
For the first quarter, Tesla lost 36 cents a share on $1.1 billion, as it produced 11,160 Model S units during the quarter, 10% better than previously forecast. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the company to post a first-quarter loss of 50 cents a share on revenue of $1.04 billion.
Gross margin, a closely watched level for the premium automaker, came in at 28.2% on an adjusted basis and 27.7% using generally accepted accounting principles, as the company continues to work on improving cost efficiencies.
Tesla had $426 million in capital expenditures during the quarter, leaving it with $1.51 billion at the end of the quarter. It's likely the company will have to raise additional capital in the coming months, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said. The company could exhaust all of its cash in the next three quarters, with a best case scenario being that it burns through $1 billion. he added.
"In any case, we believe Tesla may find a capital intervention desirable if not absolutely necessary," Jonas wrote.
Tesla said that the Model X, its upcoming SUV, is slated to be released in the latter part of the third quarter, presumably September. CEO Elon Musk also said the company may unveil its mass market car, the Model 3, as soon as March 2016 and remains on track to deliver the car to customers toward the latter part of 2017.
Shares were lower in early Thursday trading, falling 3.4% to $222.50 after having traded higher on Wednesday following the earnings news.
Here are the three biggest takeaways from the quarter.
Operations Are Getting Better, but It's Still a Work in Progress
Tesla has always said that it is not demand constrained but rather supply constrained, which has hurt some quarterly numbers in the past, but it appears those problems are starting to end.
Production levels are getting better, as the company produced more cars in the quarter than it previously forecast, thanks to operational efficiencies. It produced more than 1,000 cars a week, up from around 750 a week as of June 2014. The company also reportedly made its first acquisition, with The Detroit Free Press reporting it has acquired Riviera Tool, a stamping company.
Tesla said it would produce about 12,500 vehicles in the second quarter, representing a 12% sequential increase, as the company continues to work on improving production.