Despite the financial woes of extended-range electric automaker Fisker, things look much brighter at battery-electric automaker Tesla. It’s recent run-in with potentially flawed reporting in The New York Times aside, Tesla has reduced its quarterly losses, ramped up production of its Model S sedan and established plans to grow its retail store network in 2013.
It’s made money from its work on the Toyota RAV4 EV and the Mercedes-Benz B-Class EV, which contributed some $12 million to the bottom line in the fourth quarter. Moving forward, Elon Musk predicts that, barring a “force majeure event” (such as an earthquake or civil war), Tesla will be slightly profitable in the first quarter of 2013 and beyond.
Adding to Musk’s confidence are some 6,000 Model S reservations received in the fourth quarter, more than doubling the 2,900 booked in the third quarter. The jump in sales was attributed to multiple factors, including several car-of-the-year awards, a planned end-of-year price increase and the launch of a marketing campaign in Europe.
Tesla currently has 32 retails stores around the globe, but plans on opening as many as 20 more this year. Half of the new retail outlets will be opened in Europe and Asia, as Tesla plans a big push into these growing markets by year end.
To help address the issue of “range anxiety” and continue U.S. sales growth, Tesla is planning expansion of its Supercharger quick-charge network on the East and West coasts throughout the year.
Musk calls 2012 “the year of the Model S,” and all signs are currently indicating that 2013 could turn out to be the “year of Tesla.” Here’s wishing them the best.