Elon Musk has a fairly consistent message for all the haters and doubters and gossips and journalists and investment bankers and analysts who think Tesla is about to hit a massive financial wall: Suck it. In a tweet today, Musk again insisted that the many reports — the latest coming from The Economist — claiming Tesla will have to raise at least $2 billion this year are baloney. Why? Because he says the company is going to turn a profit in the second half of 2018. The Economist used to be boring, but smart with a wicked dry wit. Now its just boring (sigh). Tesla will be profitable & cash flow+ in Q3 & Q4, so obv no need to raise money. In the report, the Economist offered up a scathing review of how far short Tesla has fallen in terms of its production promises for the Model 3: Alas, Tesla has repeatedly failed to meet its own targets… In July 2017 Mr Musk claimed that his firm would be cranking out 20,000 Model 3s per month by December of that year. In fact, it managed to produce fewer than 2,500 in the entire final quarter of 2017. He vowed to produce 2,500 Model 3s a week by the end of March, rising to 5,000 a week by the end of June. Despite superhuman efforts by workers and managers (Mr Musk is personally supervising production of the new model and claims to be sleeping at the factory), on April 3rd Tesla confirmed that it is producing only around 2,000 Model 3 saloons a week. This production shortfall had led Moodys credit rating agency to conclude that Tesla would need to raise a bundle this year. Musk is given to brash statements, but this one carries a fair bit of risk. The company is already facing shareholder lawsuits. Now Musk is making a strong, forward-looking statement to investors. If it turns out not to be true, he could end up facing even more legal headaches down the road.
Tesla is one of the more interesting companies for Wall Street that had an interesting couple of months this year — and it seems even tweets from Elon Musk, who said that the company will be profitable in the back half of the year, may be enough to swing its stock. The Tesla and SpaceX founder sent a tweet very early this morning that the company would be profitable and cash-flow positive in the third and fourth quarter this year. Tesla is known for setting ambitious targets and forecasts, especially as it looks to ramp up Model 3 production to around 2,500 vehicles per week. Musk said he took direct control of Model 3 production earlier this month in a note to employees, also sent out at around 3 a.m. pacific time. Teslas shares were up slightly, gaining around 2% in trading today. The Economist used to be boring, but smart with a wicked dry wit. Now its just boring (sigh). Tesla will be profitable & cash flow+ in Q3 & Q4, so obv no need to raise money. Tesla saw a small bump in its stock throughout the day. While it could be for a variety of reasons, Musks data point may have offered a small amount of clarity (and optimism) around whether the company will be able to eventually turn a profit. The tweet was fired off as a response to a story by The Economist that said the company may have to raise additional capital at some point, according to banking firm Jeffries. (It was also quite snarky.) On Teslas last call to discuss the companys quarterly results with Wall Street analysts, Musk said that the company would begin generating positive quarterly operating income on a sustained basis, and said he was cautiously optimistic that the company would be GAAP profitable. Musk said the company wanted to hit a production target of 5,000 Model 3 vehicles per week at some point in 2018, though did not give a specific time frame. The tweet, while fired off as a response to a story by The Economist, appears to offer another small data point as to when it might happen. Earlier this month, Tesla fell back behind Ford in terms of its market cap as some pressure has hit the stock. Tesla has had to address a fatal crash involving its autopilot, in addition to a voluntary recall of 123,000 Model S vehicles. There is some skepticism around whether Tesla will hit its production targets from Wall Street (making cars is hard, it seems).