• Tesla beats expectations, expects further growth this year

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    After expanding and unveiling new products last year, Tesla beat analysts’ expectations for annual revenues and managed to dampen losses in the final quarter of the year.

    Tesla announced last week it saw revenue grow to $7 billion, a jump over last year’s $4.05 billion. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected 2016 revenues to reach $6.85 billion.

    Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk told investors the company can hit aggressive manufacturing deadlines and expansion this year. Tesla expects to deliver the Model 3, an all-electric $35,000 sedan and new solar roof tiles in the second half of this year.

    The company expects to produce more than 5,000 Model 3 sedans per week by the end of the year. The manufacturing process for the car will be simpler because it has fewer computers, wiring and luxury features than other Teslas, Musk said.

    “It’s going to be a very compelling car, but it’s a simpler design,” he said.

    The upbeat guidance from company leaders came after another full year of losses for the electric vehicle and renewable energy company. Tesla acquired SolarCity, one of the country’s largest solar installers, in November.

    Tesla lost $4.68 per share for the year, better than analysts’ expectations of $4.88 per share. Excluding certain one-time expenses, Tesla lost $2.87 per share, better than estimates of $2.96 per share.

    The company also said it was on track to deliver between 47,000 and 50,000 Model S and Model X SUVs in the first half of this year. The company cautioned that deliveries of the Model 3 and solar roofs could be impacted by even a few weeks’ delay.

    The first Model 3 cars will be delivered to Tesla employees, allowing the company to quickly fix any bugs in the initial release, Musk said. The Model 3 drew nearly 400,000 reservations in the days after its unveiling. Musk declined to say how many reservations the company currently holds.

    The stock gained about 1.6 percent in after-hours trading. The share price has shot up more than 50 percent in the past three months, approaching record levels.

    Some analysts feel the company is overpriced, even as it pushes forward with new products. Tesla, which delivered 76,000 vehicles last year, has a market value of about $44 billion. Traditional automakers that produce millions of vehicles annually are valued only slightly higher — Ford at $51 billion and GM at $57 billion.

    THE MERCURY NEWS/TNS

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