Perhaps the only company's results we have more fun spreading that Netflix, is Tesla's for the simple reason that the company has managed to convert GAAP reality into a singularity of such non-GAAP bullshit, which is no longer merely laughable but is solidly inside the ridiculous, if not criminal (of course, nobody cares as long as the stock keeps rising but the second it plunges, watch those lawsuits soar), that none other company can even come close.
Case in point: revenues. Here, somehow, in the traditionally strong Q4 period, Tesla reported $1.2 billion in revenue. You know, plain vanilla GAAP revenue. Here's the problem: non-GAAP revenue - yes, TSLA has non-GAAP revenue - was a whopping $1.7 billion, and the delta between GAAP and non-GAAP a ludicrous $532 million, or more than 40% of actual sales.
But while revenue, both GAAP and non-GAAP at least rose in Q4, things turned downright bizarre for the company's actual earnings per share, which we can't even comment on, so we'll just show them.
And where things get utterly delightful is that while previously the company would disclose it's actual free cash flows, which we used to track as the best indicator of what is really going on at the company, that is no longer feasible for one simple reason: starting this quarter, the company's Free Cash Flow disclosure, as seen below from its Q3 results...
... it no longer lays out the actual Free Cash Flow!
Luckily, we can back into the number using the old methodology and here is the anwer: the company has burned $3.2 billion in cash in the past 2 years! That probably explains why Elon Musk is now looking for taxpayer subsidies in China.
We also know one more thing: total cash declined from over $1.4 billion in Q3 to under $1.2 billion in Q4.This means TSLA will have to sell equity in the very near future.
So despite this clear, if successful, attempt to treat investors like idiots and aggressively distract them from what matters, why is TSLA's stock surging after hours? Because it promised that this time it will be different, and it will actually sell many more cars in the future:
we plan to deliver 80,000 to 90,000 new Model S and Model X vehicles in 2016.
It also added that as the world careens into a recession, and as only subprime loans drive marginal purchases by the OEMs, Tesla expects its "average vehicle transaction price to increase slightly during 2016, as Model X grows to become a larger share of our deliveries throughout the year. In Q1, we plan to grow deliveries 60% year on year to approximately 16,000 vehicles, and we plan to directly lease about the same percentage of cars as we did in Q4."
How it plans to achieve that with markets plunging and wiping out trillions in wealth of its targeted customer base? Nobody knows, but since the number is higher than the expected 76,200 the short squeeze can be unleashed. If only for a few hours.