General Motors earned an operating profit of $1،418 for every vehicle it sold around the world in the first quarter. Ford Motor Co. earned a little less: $1،174.
Tesla، by the same calculation، is in a whole different league، and not in a good way. Its per-vehicle profit comes in at minus-$15،855.
For every car Tesla sold، it lost more than a year’s pay at a minimum-wage job.
But hold on، Tesla groupies: At least read the rest of this first، please.
Yes، that’s an eye-popping figure، and one that’s not sustainable for a company that wants to be in business for very long.
But no، that’s not، on its own، a fair assessment of Tesla، an automaker that’s essentially still in its infancy.
Still، they’re numbers worth looking at and writing about here. Because they do show an inescapable truth about the auto industry: It’s easy to lose huge amounts of money building and selling cars، but it’s hard to eke out profit margins that would be laughed at in most other industries.
That Tesla has even made it this far is impressive. Its fans -- the fact that Tesla has such loyal supporters is a credit to the genius of its founder، Elon Musk -- rightly point out that the company has enormous potential for growth in its future.