Tesla shares slide as Musk calls analyst 'boring bonehead'

03 May, 2018, 16:58 | Author: Tracy Craig
  • Elon Musk

"Please sell our stock and don't buy it", he said. But then the floor was given to Galileo Russell, host of the "HyperChange TV" YouTube channel, which has more than 9,000 subscribers.

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk introduces one of the first Model 3 cars off the Fremont factory's production line during an event at the company's facilities in Fremont, California, US, on July 28, 2017.

Mr. Musk has acknowledged that Tesla erred in trying to build a highly automated production line to assemble the Model 3, noting that getting robots and other machinery to work in harmony has proved to be more hard than he expected.

The company stood by a previously announced target of building 5,000 Model 3s per week by the end of June. Publishing these statistics about Autopilot's performance will let the public know "exactly what Autopilot's safety [level] is", Musk said.

On the call, Musk said Tesla is poised to surpass all rivals in manufacturing.

Free cash flow, a key metric of financial health, widened to negative $1 billion (roughly Rs. 6,700 crores) in the first quarter from negative $277 million in the fourth quarter, excluding costs of systems for its solar business.

Investors and analysts have expressed worry about how fast Tesla has been burning through cash, and stopping losses would be a major turn in the road for the company.

During the quarter the company burned cash at a rate of $57 million per week.

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Yet despite Musk's sometimes curt handling of the phone call he remained positive that 2018 would finally be the year that Tesla makes a profit.

Now only about 2,000 of the cars are being produced each week, with more than 500,000 people having made paid reservations for the affordable mass-market electric vehicle.

Net reservations, including configured orders that had not been delivered, "continued to exceed 450,000" at the end of the first quarter, the company said. Revenue grew by 26 percent from a year ago to $3.4 billion.

For Q1 2018, Tesla reported a record loss of $709.6 million, ($4.19 per share) compared with a loss of $330.3 million ($2.04 per share) a year earlier and a $675 million loss in Q4 2017.

His advice for those concerned about Tesla's losses was blunt. On average, 20 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected loss of USD3.48 per share for the quarter.

To achieve those Model 3 production numbers, Tesla will shut down its line again this quarter to make modifications, according Musk.

Musk eventually returned to analysts' questions, touching on such subjects as ride-hailing services (which he said could begin "as soon as the end of next year"), plans for factory expansion (including the fact that every Gigafactory added from now on would build cars as well as batteries) and the Tesla Semi (a project that Musk said was currently getting a lower priority due to the focus on the Model 3).

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