Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.

Tesla needs to get its financial house in order.

This site may earn commission on affiliate links.
Tesla lost over $702 million in the first quarter of 2019. I'm surprised that this news is apparently not an article on TMC.

Elon Musk reportedly laid blame on the decline of federal tax credits, complained that people don't like buying cars in winter and said Tesla is facing more competition. Sales widely missed projections for the first quarter.

Now, I'm no corporate executive but I am an entrepreneur. I have started and successfully run businesses and organizations since 1976. I have endless respect for Mr. Musk's engineering acumen but I believe he's making mistakes that ought to be reviewed by Tesla's board.

First of all, overreach that exceeds the company's ability to pay for it. Slow down. Consolidate what you've built and assure growth of the products before you leap into something new.

Second, contradictory policies and statements, and erratic behavior. Mr. Musk is a high-profile CEO. Part of his job is to lead effectively and provide confidence that the products are good, the company is growing and successful, and that prospective customers can buy without concern that the company will collapse.

Third, Tesla's critics are winning the public relations war. Aside from Mr. Musk's contradictory and erratic comments, the only other messages the public hears are concerns by investors and critics that the company is in dire trouble and could flip into bankruptcy. And on top of that, Mr. Musk makes wild pronouncements about fully automated self-driving cars coming very soon, and a million self-driving ride-share cars on the road shortly. Those statements seem designed to promote the company and its products, but to many of us they seem wildly overblown. I doubt that ultra-safe autopilot will be on the road anytime soon, despite his pronouncements. All kinds of weird and bizarre things confront drivers, and human judgment in a sudden emergency is really hard to replicate. I'm not about to get into a full-autopilot car anytime soon.

The hundreds of millions of possible buyers out there are hearing...what? Assertions by Mr. Musk that many will shoot down as pie-in-the-sky. And warnings by Wall Street types that Tesla's losing mountains of cash and may collapse. Mr. Musk doesn't seem concerned about the negative publicity over Tesla. If I were running Tesla, I'd be way concerned.

Mr. Musk ought to calm down. And he ought to immediately tell advertising agencies to pitch him on ad campaigns that will spur demand of Tesla's excellent products. So far, Mr. Musk has depended upon Apple's strategy for product promotion, and that does work...to a point. I imagine Mr. Musk doesn't want to resort to advertising (TV, print, web), but every car manufacturer does it and for good reason. You control the message. You make the public aware of the advantages of the car and its quality. You improve showroom traffic and demand, which improves sales, which largely shuts up the noisy critics. It puts the company and its products in a more favorable light. And everybody knows that Apple, despite its highly publicized product announcements, does advertise.

Oh yeah: showroom traffic. Mr. Musk was rolling out sales centers and "galleries" nationwide. Then he decided to shut them all. Then he decided to keep some of them open. Then he told customers to just buy the car online and Tesla will refund the purchase price if buyers don't want to keep the car. STOP IT! Look, people want to see the cars in person. They want to take a ride. They want to find out more about the cars from a qualified salesperson. Telling folks to just "trust us" and buy the car online only is a MISTAKE. And now, he's removed the base Model 3 from the online store.

This weekend, I'll be taking Tessie (what I named my Model S P90DL) to a classic car show and I'll offer rides to anyone who asks. That's more than Tesla is doing to promote sales.


There is a variety of kinds of CEO. Mr. Musk is an entrepreneur ial CEO, meaning he built the company from its early stages. But companies grow and mature. Often, the originating CEO is not the best person to run the company once it is well established. My belief is that Mr. Musk -- at this point -- is creating more problems than he's solving. He should focus on product development and engineering and leave the CEO-ing to someone who can control the overreach, get cash flow under control, and turn the company into a gigantic success. Tesla's board of directors needs to pay attention and assert authority.

And I wonder whether Apple will buy Tesla. It is a public company and Apple can afford to swallow it whole. I'm pretty sure CEO Tim Cook knows what to do with a brilliant but highly erratic chief executive. After all, he was near the top of Apple when Steve Jobs was CEO.
I agree to some extent on your first and second points, and disagree on your third. Advertising adds a significant markup to vehicle costs, as do dealer networks, and IMO Tesla should continue to avoid both.

In the grand scheme of things, while a $700+ million dollar loss looks bad, roughly $550+ million of that loss was from one-time expenses and deliveries that were pushed into Q2. In addition, they missed out on about $300+ million in profits from the time and drop in production associated with updating the Model S/X and their production lines. Last but not least, Bloomberg's raw Model 3 tracking data suggests that Tesla's production of the 3 dropped to <2k cars per week at the beginning of 2019 and finished in the 6-8k/week range, so I wouldn't be surprised if Q2 had substantially more 3s produced, assuming GF1 can supply enough packs to support higher average production rates for the 3.

With that said, it might take them more than a quarter to ramp Model S/X production back up and sort out any issues with battery production for the 3, so I could see a (smaller) loss in Q2, but I wouldn't buy into all the negativity in the long term.
I’m an Apple house hold but I have to say Tim Cook and co have done nothing , nothing in the way of innovation since jobs passed.

Apple are simply riding the jobs wave unlike musk who is constantly innovating and pushing tech.

As mentioned about most of that loss is due to cars made in Q1 that couldn’t be sold, I guess with that in mind Q2 should be good, time will tell?
  • Like
Reactions: MichaelP90DL