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Tesla's fourth-quarter loss widens to $81.5 million
Tesla Motors Inc.'s fourth-quarter net loss widened to $81.5 million, as electric Roadster sales end ahead of the release of Model S sedans.

The company posted a fourth-quarter loss of $51.4 million in 2010.Tesla is selling the final units of its $109,000 Roadster sports car.

The Model S, intended to expand the company's sales volume with a base model priced at $57,400, won't go into production until the middle of this year.

Until then, Tesla's main revenue source is supplying battery packs and other parts to Toyota Motor Corp. and Daimler AG, two of its investors.

The company also said today it's starting "a development program with Daimler for a new Mercedes-Benz vehicle with a full Tesla powertrain. This represents an increase in the scope and scale of our deepening relationship with Daimler," Tesla said, without elaborating.

Tesla said on Nov. 2, when it released third-quarter results, that it had a letter of intent from Daimler for the new vehicle project, but provided no details.

"My gut impression it's probably not something that will be for a mass-scale vehicle," said Ed Kim, industry analyst for researcher AutoPacific Inc. in Tustin, Calif.

While Tesla's projects with Daimler and Toyota aren't large in vehicle volume, "the benefit they get from even associating themselves with Daimler and Toyota is worth a ton," he said.

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