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A view of Tesla Inc's vehicle factory in Fremont, Calif., on March 18, 2020.

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Tesla Inc. on Wednesday posted its third quarterly profit in a row, but said the novel coronavirus was hurting deliveries and lockdown restrictions made it impossible for the electric-car maker to provide guidance for the full year.

Tesla said it could not predict how quickly vehicle manufacturing and global supply chains will normalize, saying it would revisit full-year guidance for net income and cash flow when it reports current-quarter results in three months.

Shares of the company were up more than 8 per cent at US$870 in extended trading.

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The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the new coronavirus has disrupted demand for cars, with automakers including Tesla forced to furlough workers, and fuelled uncertainty over when and how supply chains will return to normalcy once the curbs are eased.

Tesla’s report of a profitable quarter comes just a day after Detroit-based rival Ford Motor Co. reported a US$2-billion first-quarter loss and forecast losing another US$5-billion in the current quarter as the coronavirus pandemic hits demand.

Vehicle demand in the United States has dropped as much as 80 per cent in some hard-hit areas in March, but some analysts said sales appeared to recover slightly in the first two weeks of April.

Tesla on Wednesday said it expected production at its vehicle factories in Fremont, Calif., and in Shanghai, China, to ramp gradually through the second quarter.

The electric-car maker did not say when it planned to resume production in Fremont. Alameda County, where the factory is based, on Wednesday extended stay-at-home orders until May 31. While some essential businesses are allowed to operate before then, vehicle manufacturing does not fall under the exemptions.

Earlier this month, Tesla said production and deliveries of its Model Y sports utility vehicle were significantly ahead of schedule, as it delivered the highest number of vehicles in any first quarter to date, despite the outbreak.

Revenue rose to US$5.99-billion from US$4.54-billion during the same quarter last year. Analysts had expected revenue of US$5.9-billion for the latest quarter, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

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Excluding items, Tesla posted a profit of US$1.24 a share. Analysts had expected a loss of 36 U.S. cents a share.

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