Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk insists company finances are better than they appears, as share price falls on news of Q4 loss Reuters

Elon Musk sought to calm investors, insisting Tesla's fourth-quarter financial results weren't as bad as they looked, as the electric car maker posted a loss of 13 cents per share.

This was well below the 31 cents per share profit predicted by analysts. it was blamed on poor weather affecting shipments, a strong dollar, and production delays.

As Tesla's share price fell almost 4% in after-hours trading, Musk said: "Our financials are better than they appear, not worse." The eccentric billionaire added that, at it's current rate of growth, Tesla would approach Apple's $700 billion (£460bn) in 10 years' time.

Heavy demand for the new all-wheel-drive version of its Model S saloon car, the P85D, was blamed for Tesla failing to deliver 1,400 vehicles, as customers switched their orders to the newer, faster and more expensive model.

The company produced 11,627 cars in the fourth quarter of 2014 and delivered 9,834, falling shy of the 11,000 it had expected to deliver. Tesla had previously said it would miss its goal of hitting 35,000 Model S deliveries for the whole of 2014; this was later revised to 33,000, but now a final figure for the year has not been disclosed.

More positively, Tesla greatly expanded its Supercharger network across Europe and the US in 2014, and expects over 70% growth in vehicle deliveries in 2015.

Despite posting a quarterly loss of $108 million, increasing total losses for 2014 to $294m, Tesla's outlook for the near future remains optimistic, with 10,000 Model S orders booked and a further 20,000 orders for its upcoming sport-utility vehicle, the Model X.

Musk said the Model X will enter the final stage of development in March, and the first customer cars will be delivered in August. Tesla expects to deliver a total of 55,000 vehicles in 2015, a 70% increase on 2014, and 40% of these are planned for the first half of the year.