Tesla CEO and major shareholder Elon Musk has urged employees to hasten deliveries of its electric vehicles by the end of this quarter to ensure the company will not only avoid a repeat of the losses experienced last quarter, but post a record profit for this quarter.
In an email sent to staff last night (US time), Musk said that Tesla has “a lot of vehicles to catch up to in order to have a successful quarter.” It follows a sharp fall in the company’s stock price as analysts reacted to the poor first quarter results and fears the company will not make its delivery targets for the year.
“If we execute well, Q2 will be an all-time record for Tesla vehicle deliveries and an awesome victory,” Musk wrote to shareholders. It followed another email sent on May 22 where he said 50,000 new orders for this quarter meant it had every chance of exceeding its previous record of last year’s Q4 delivery of 90,700 EVs.
The report of Musk’s email by Bloomberg saw stock jump 1.2% to around $US190 ($A274).
The first of quarter of 2019 saw Tesla deliver a disappointing loss, with Musk lamenting the logistical “insanity” of expanding its Model 3 markets into Europe and China at the same time, noting it had put a significant hole in earnings.
For Q1, Tesla suffered an operating loss of $US522 million ($A745 million at the time) and a $US1.5 billion ($A2.14 billion at the time) drop in cash holdings compared to Q4 2018.
For a sale to be counted towards Tesla’s quarterly profits, it must first be delivered to the customer – a fact that led senior VP Sanjay Shah to ask staff to help out with 30,000 deliveries last quarter.
It’s not the first time Tesla has made a mad dash to the end of quarter – in June 2018 the company ramped up production in an effort to reach a goal of 5,000 Model 3s produced per week.
But it was not until the third quarter of 2018 that Tesla finally posted its first profit, driven largely by expanded Model 3 sales and deliveries.
If Tesla can pull off the challenge of beating its own record for deliveries, it will significantly be across a number of global markets, including not only Europe and China but also now its first right hand drive market, the UK.
Meanwhile, Australian deliveries appear to be on hold..
Although Musk responded to Tesla enthusiasts on Twitter in March that production of the Model 3 for Australia would start late May or June, and deliveries typically take at least 6 weeks from order, the long expected configuration page has yet to appear.
It is thought that after a final inspection according to Australian approval processes for the Model 3 are conducted this weekend, that online ordering for the Model 3 in Australia may commence shortly thereafter – but as we are now right at the end of May, deliveries to customers will not start until next quarter.
The entire contents of the email, which was first reported by Bloomberg, goes as follows:
From: Elon Musk
While our demand is strong, we have a lot of vehicles to catch up to in order to have a successful quarter.
Starting tomorrow, I will be holding skip-level calls with the America, Asia and Europe delivery teams every 2 days to understand what’s needed to accelerate our rate of deliveries.
We also need to address the total cost of getting a car from our factory to the customer. Last quarter, there were many expedites fees and routing inefficiencies that led to higher than expected delivery costs. This makes it much harder for Tesla to break even.
Per my earlier email, if we execute well, Q2 will be an all-time record for Tesla vehicle deliveries and an awesome victory!!
Super excited to make this happen with you,
And last week’s previous email:
From: Elon Musk
Subject: Exciting Goal!
Date: Wed 5/22/2019 10:45 PM
As of yesterday, we had over 50,000 net new orders for this quarter. Based on current trends, we have a good chance of exceeding the record 90,700 deliveries of Q4 last year and making this the highest deliveries/sales quarter in Tesla history!
In order to achieve this, we need sustained output of 1,000 Model 3’s per day. Almost all parts of the Model 3 production system have exceeded 1000 units on multiple days (congratulations!!) and we’ve averaged about 900/day this week, so we’re only about 10% away from 7000/week.
If we rally hard, we can do it!
Thanks for your great work,
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.