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Anyone else think Tesla is spread too thin?

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by insaneoctane, Aug 14, 2017.

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  1. insaneoctane

    insaneoctane Member

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    I'm an admitted fanboy of Tesla & Elon, but am starting to wonder if they are taking on too much:
    • Complete Model 3 production line
    • Complete the new 15" GUI for M3
    • Make continued changes quickly as employees/investors give feedback
    • Redesign S/X line to keep up with *anything* better on M3
    • FSD
    • EAP improvements
    • Semi
    • Model Y
    • Infrastructure (superchargers, servicing, sales, etc)
    • ?????
    I'm sure I missed a bunch, but it just seems like they have a million complex things going on. Any one of the many things Tesla has taken on many companies can't do at all. This ambition is well intentioned, but probably doesn't give customers very good response- if I have a complaint about the way my M3 GUI doesn't alert me to blind spot vehicle presence and am expecting them to fix it within a reasonable time period. I think Tesla currently employs over 33K people.
     
  2. Phrixotrichus

    Phrixotrichus Member

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    I have friends inside BMW in the design and engineering teams.
    Those are actually way smaller than one would think per model/feature.
    So with 33k employees and only 3 models so far I´d not expect Tesla to struggle on that end.
     
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  3. alseTrick

    alseTrick Active Member

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    No.

    I've started typing several long responses but each time I delete them. I'm trying not to get too verbose.

    The 3 would be delayed if Tesla were too thin. Tesla wouldn't have bumped up the Y if they're too thin. They wouldn't be releasing the semi truck prototype if they were too thin. They wouldn't be producing power walls and power packs. They wouldn't be actively searching for new Gigafactory sites.

    *If the 3 launch goes well, that will fund everything.* It will pay off current debtors and provide confidence to future creditors that Tesla is a smart investment. That money will fund everything that might make it appear that Tesla is stretched too thin.

    It will probably take another 5-10 years for Tesla to build out its infrastructure to a level where it no longer *needs* to continue taking on debt and creating new factory-intensive infrastructure. I'm talking about finishing the 3 line, Gigafactory I and II, and securing everything necessary for Gigafactories III-n (for now, let's say VI - for the US, Europe, India and China). That's also assuming all future Gigafactories are combined battery factory and car factory. Think about it, once those are all built out, it's pure profit for Tesla (simply speaking). But until they are, it's "cash burn, cash burn, cash burn".

    Sharif don't like it, rock the cash burn. Rock the cash burn.

    I think autopilot, UI upgrades/changes, fixes to the falcon wings or drive trains or similar issues, new superchargers/service centers/showrooms are inconsequential in the grand scheme of things in terms of cost. And Tesla cannot simply put future vehicle models on hold until the 3 is 100% ramped up. They might *ease* current issues only to set themselves up to rush future projects, creating future issues.

    That's not even mentioning power walls and packs, or solar roofs and solar panels.

    Is Tesla extending itself? Oh heck yes. Is it over-extended? I don't think so at all. It'd be pretty apparent. There'd be delays, contractors not getting paid, software updates would go on hiatus, etc. And none of that is really happening. But it's certainly a line that Tesla is trying to correctly walk. They could fall the wrong way if things don't go well for a few straight quarters. And yet, if things continue swinging upwards for a few straight quarters, all of this kind of talk will disappear forever. If they can hit 20k 3's this year and 200k next year...its over.

    Flip flip flip flip, game over.
     
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  4. alseTrick

    alseTrick Active Member

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    You ever axk them about Tesla?
     
  5. Phrixotrichus

    Phrixotrichus Member

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    Not really.
     
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  6. Jason Bourne

    Jason Bourne Member

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    Sometimes I wonder if Elon is spread too thin. CEO of 2 major companies, Hyperloop, Boring, OpenAI.... that's at least 4 fulltime jobs right there for average people.
     
  7. diplomat33

    diplomat33 Member

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    On the surface, it might appear that Tesla is stretching themselves too thin but I think it is just Musk's strategy of always pushing forward. I think he knows that successful companies cannot afford to stand still, they must innovate and push forward in order to stay ahead of the competition. It is how Tesla has stayed ahead of the competition so far. Keep in mind that major developments like full self-driving or a new car model take a lot of time. For example, if it takes 4 years to go from the drawing board to production then you have to start 4 years early if you want to produce your new car on time. If you wait until the competition announces their new car, then you have already fallen behind because by the time you produce your new car, the competition has already sold their car and moved on to the next thing. That is why Tesla is starting now on the Model Y even though they are just getting started producing the Model 3. Plus, I think it is just in Musk's DNA. He loves thinking of the next big thing.
     
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  8. Chargedmr2

    Chargedmr2 Member

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    OP, nothing new about your observation. Critics have been saying similar things from nearly the beginning of Tesla. For mortal humans, this list of things being pushed forward could be too much all at once. For Musk, well he has advanced Tesla through FAR harder times (came within an inch of having to sell Tesla to Google, for example). I'm not worried, but rather amazed.
     
  9. SpiceWare

    SpiceWare Member

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    Not at all, I've worked at manufacturing companies in the past and there's this handy concept of division of labor which allows multiple things to be worked on concurrently. While upper level managers might be the same, the people who are actually setting up the production line are not the same people who are working on the GUI, are not the same people coordinating the supercharger expansion, are not the same people building the superchargers, are not the same people redesigning the S, etc
     
  10. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    They most certainly are, and its resulted in them dropping the ball on numerous things. The almost complete lack of non-AP related updates. The slow progress on EAP and lack of results on FSD. The terrible job they do with repair parts.

    They are clearly sacrificing the customer satisfaction of current owners to get the 3 out on time. I'm not saying this a bad decision, its probably the right call to make based on the do or die situation with the 3, but it is certainly costing them reputation and repeat customers.
     
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  11. diplomat33

    diplomat33 Member

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    Yeah, getting the Model 3 out is a must for Tesla. In fact, I would go as far as saying that Tesla could even go under if they fail because of how much debt they have added in order to finance the Model 3's development and production. Of course, the rewards if they succeed are just as big. If they succeed with the Model 3, it not just means massive profits but it also makes Tesla a mainstream auto maker with the infrastructure to mass produce future cars.
     
  12. Eclectic

    Eclectic Member

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    I think the answer may be yes from my perspective. This is the context for my perspective...

    We bought a Tesla (P85) back when there were very few Teslas on the road. For the longest time we had the only Tesla in our area. We then upgraded to a P85D when it was first introduced. Around that time we noticed a few more Teslas in our area. Now, Tesla Model S's are probably the most popular car where we live. I was leaving the parking lot for the local shopping center over the weekend and counted 10 Model S's (and 2 Model X's) in this relatively small parking lot.

    I'll be honest about this...my wife generally wants a new car every 2-3 years. She has a nasty commute (east bay into either downtown SF or Silicon Valley, depending on the day) and a new car just gives her some level of satisfaction, especially if it's a car that is somewhat unique. At this point, though, there are more Teslas on the road (in our area) than any other larger premium car. In fact, there are probably more Teslas than ANY other car, even economy cars. I know this is not typical for most areas, but it's the way it is where we live.

    So just recently I was asking my wife about cars, since we've had the P85D longer than we've had any other car in the past 10 years. She considered the Model X, but decided she had no interest in a crossover/SUV type of car and really didn't want to deal with the potential for problems with the rear doors anyway. Looking at a P100D, she couldn't reconcile the fact that it looks very similar to her current car yet she'd probably have to pay $70-80k more to trade up.

    So now she's looking hard at the Porsche Panamera. I know some people are saying "first world problems" now, but we're talking about whether Tesla is being spread too thin and the premium market is a very important part of Tesla's business. The odds are that if the Model S isn't substantially redesigned in the next year or so, our next car won't be a Tesla. Whether this is an issue with Tesla being spread too thin or Tesla simply changing its focus from premium to middle market, high volume cars, I don't know. What I do know is that they may lose at least one customer who has been loyal to the brand.
     
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  13. jsmay311

    jsmay311 Member

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    Nobody ever said trying to single-handedly save the world would be easy. ;)
     
  14. Trips

    Trips Member

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    Tesla and SpaceX are the only companies with strict deadlines as the others seem more like hobbies. It also helps with you are not blowing up rockets or reinventing the door.

    Tesla- 42 hours
    SpaceX - 40 hours
    Neuralink – 5 Hours
    Open AI – 2 Hours
    Boring Company – 2 Hours
     
  15. azred

    azred Member

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    Tesla spread too thin? I have no idea. Elon spread too thin? Onviously he is.
     
  16. chronopc

    chronopc Member

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    They aren't spreading themselves thin enough! I mean, I don't see a Model 3 in my garage right now.
     
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  17. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    Except for contractors not getting paid (which just has to do with cash and their incredible popularity allowing them to raise tons of it), that is exactly what is happening. The 3 appears to be on schedule so far, but everything else is slipping.
     
  18. jim5359

    jim5359 Member

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    I'm really concerned about the Tesla infrastructure. If the Model 3 sells even close to projections I don't see Tesla having enough infrastructure to handle it. Good luck getting a service center appointment or pulling up to a SuperCharger without having to wait in line. And what about replacement parts? A friend's P85D battery died on him recently and they told him it will be 3 months to get a replacement.

    And the AP2 Enhanced Auto Pilot so far isn't enhanced at all over AP1. In fact, it took months before it even reached parity, and some say it still hasn't in some areas. So yes, as an existing customer I think they are spread too thin. But it's the new customers that are bringing in the money, so that's what they're focused on. If the infrastructure can't keep up then their reputation will suffer in the long run.
     
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  19. insaneoctane

    insaneoctane Member

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    I think the limited enhancement of AP is an example of many current owners looking for more time from tesla. I realize that the mobileye separation probably set things back a bit, but people want this stuff as fast (or faster) than they promise it.
     
  20. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    Only since about 2008. That's why they never get anything done.

    More at 11.
     
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