AuthorTopic: Official EV Carz Thread  (Read 5597 times)

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 28377
    • View Profile
Tesla Starts A Whole New Round Of Mass Firings, This Time At SolarCity
« Reply #120 on: October 26, 2017, 03:06:36 AM »
Tesla Starts A Whole New Round Of Mass Firings, This Time At SolarCity

by Tyler Durden
Oct 25, 2017 3:50 PM


Poor Elon Musk really, really can't catch a break.  Just over the past couple of weeks he's been forced to push back his Model 3 delivery schedule due to some "production hell" issues (like not knowing how to weld...a fairly critical component of auto manufacturing), got one-upped by Daimler who beat him to the punch by revealing an all electric semi-truck earlier today (several weeks ahead of Elon), was sued by former employees who alleged a "hostile and racist work environment" in his Fremont plant...and the list goes on and on.

Now, according to a report from CNBC, Tesla's mass firings have spread to SolarCity, a company which Musk just purchased last year despite warnings from concerned shareholders that it would be nothing more than a distraction.  While it's unclear how many people have been fired from each division, former employees estimate that some 1,200 people have been let go in total between the various Tesla entities.

    Employee dismissals at Tesla are continuing, according to six former and current employees, and have spread from its motor division to SolarCity offices across the U.S.

     

    Echoing reports from earlier this month, these SolarCity employees say they were surprised to be told they were fired for performance reasons, claiming Tesla had not conducted performance reviews since acquiring the solar energy business.

     

    All the people spoke under condition of anonymity, citing fears of retaliation from Tesla.

     

    Tesla had already announced plans to lay off 205 SolarCity employees at its Roseville, California, office by the end of October this year. However, SolarCity employees across the country have been fired in the last two weeks — not just in California, but also in Nevada, Arizona, Utah and beyond, according to these employees.

     

    Two former employees told CNBC that the Roseville office was being completely shut down. A Tesla spokesperson said the office will remain open with about 50 full-time employees.

     

    The total number of dismissals could not be determined. However, former employees estimate around 1,200 people have been fired in the company's wave of dismissals at Tesla including SolarCity. That figure does not include previously announced layoffs.

Musk

When asked about the mass firings, Tesla once again reiterated their stance that the 1,200 people in question were being terminated as the result of "performance reviews"...
Related Video
Beauty Entrepreneur Bobbi Brown Explains the 'Secret Sauce' to Building a Brand Loved By Everyone

    "Like all companies, Tesla conducts an annual performance review during which a manager and employee discuss the results that were achieved, as well as how those results were achieved, during the performance period. This includes both constructive feedback and recognition of top performers with additional compensation and equity awards, as well as promotions in many cases. As with any company, especially one of over 33,000 employees, performance reviews also occasionally result in employee departures. Tesla is continuing to grow and hire new employees around the world."

...which is odd because SolarCity employees, much like those working at the Tesla plant in Fremont, say they were never given performance reviews.

    SolarCity employees (like other Tesla employees) then received separation agreements via email. The documents cited "failure to meet performance expectations" as the reason for their terminations, according to excerpts of the documents shared with CNBC by multiple parties.

     

    The former SolarCity employees all said performance reviews had not been conducted since Tesla acquired the clean energy business for $2.6 billion in November 2016.

     

    Three recently fired SolarCity employees (who worked in disparate city offices, and were contacted separately by CNBC) said they asked HR at Tesla for a copy of their performance reviews. But those never materialized.

     

    In some cases, HR never acknowledged their requests but went ahead and sent them separation agreements. These agreements force ex-employees of Tesla into arbitration if they want severance pay. In other words, they have to sign away the rights to sue the company for two weeks' worth of salary.

Meanwhile, these angry, laid-off employees don't seem to be buying it.

But it's ok, they can presumably all re-apply for their positions once Tesla opens it's new manufacturing facility in China...though it will require a fairly long-distance move and a rather sizeable pay cut.
SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 28377
    • View Profile
Data Sheet—Elon Musk's Humiliating Shortfall at Tesla
« Reply #121 on: November 02, 2017, 07:56:18 AM »
http://fortune.com/2017/11/02/data-sheet-elon-musk-tesla-model-3/

Data Sheet—Elon Musk's Humiliating Shortfall at Tesla


Mute
Current Time 0:00
/
Duration Time 0:30
 
By Aaron Pressman and Adam Lashinsky 5:09 AM EDT

The rap against Tesla has always been of the “yes, but” variety. Yes, it’s a fine artisanal designer and manufacturer of electric cars and its CEO is one of the few business leaders alive for whom the label “visionary” isn’t hyperbolic. But Elon Musk’s auto company can’t seem to make very many vehicles and will run out of money long before it figures how.

Tesla offered new grist for the bears Tuesday, with an earnings report that copped to a hellish manufacturing situation for its game-changing, $35,000 Model 3 sedan. Tesla has humiliated established carmakers with its brilliant vision. But Detroit, Turin, Stuttgart, and so on have understood scale as well as capital allocation for decades. Such gargantuan tasks could yet humiliate Tesla.

The company’s fans hang on. Gene Munster, a Wall Street analyst turned venture-capitalist/analyst, published a report promising Tesla “will be worth the wait.” One set of Munster’s statistics stands out, though, in describing Tesla’s plight. Munster reckons Tesla has accepted 475,000 pre-orders for Model 3s. Munster thinks Tesla will be able to make just 2,500 Model 3s in the fourth quarter. Were that production level to remain unchanged, it would take Tesla nearly 50 years to deliver on its promises. Even at the 190,000 rate Munster predicts for all of 2018—and Tesla rarely hits its goals—competitors will be onto a new model before pre-orders are satisfied.

Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.

The bears, by the way, finally appear to be more numerous than the bulls, at least for today. Tesla’s stock was off more than 6% on the news.

***

Under Armour, whose run of sales growth has ended, is doing away with its line of wearable fitness trackers. That’s a formidable graveyard that now includes products by Nike, Jawbone, Pebble, and Microsoft. Another tough business.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 07:59:19 AM by RE »
SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 28377
    • View Profile
Tesla Approaches Terminal Decline
« Reply #122 on: November 11, 2017, 04:22:21 PM »
Bye, Bye Elon. :icon_sunny:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/1t3cBTb3xPc" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/1t3cBTb3xPc</a>

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4122890-tesla-approaches-terminal-decline



[html]

Tesla Approaches Terminal Decline

Nov.10.17 | About: Tesla Motors (TSLA)
Andreas Hopf
Special situations, medium-term horizon, event-driven

Summary

Financial performance deteriorates - structural unprofitability likely.

Most cash raised recently is already burnt - next equity sale looms.

Institutional ownership declines - distribution continues.

Management churn accelerates - corporate culture looks damaged.

Only the story matters - the stock remains a trade vehicle.

Here we are, seven months later, and Tesla's (NASDAQ:TSLA) financial performance deteriorates at an alarming rate. Bearish macro scenarios, always just around the corner since 2011, refuse to play out and Queen TINA and King FOMO remain enthroned. The much anticipated interest rate assault by central banks is further delayed. And once it arrives, it will do so in rather piecemeal fashion, unlike the infamous macro-scaremongers suspect. No surprise then that the Panglossian valuation of Tesla abides, while journalists and analysts alike continue falling for every new-fangled non-profit idea emerging from Palo Alto.

And then, as long as 1) wealthy consumers in western nations but also China are eager to seek indulgence by way of green-washing and, 2) are in search of a Steve Jobs replacement persona onto which they can project their hopes for a gleaming future and, 3) are disillusioned with the establishment and its leaders, the company will likely succeed to raise cash again. Some say it might already be too big to fail.

The Tesla narrative is based on an illusion, a contradictio in adjecto - the promise that humankind can shop and consume itself into a sustainable future. However, even a million Teslas on the world’s roads will not impact the environment for better or worse. It is a systemic issue. The Financial Times agrees. Sustainability and promoting the purchase of raw-material consuming heavyweight products are mutually exclusive. There is no right life in the wrong, to paraphrase Theodor Adorno.

At the time of writing, the company’s precarious financial position shows that it remains a bottomless pit. Let’s go in.

1. Stock

2. Finances

3. Perspective

4. Management

5. Market

6. Sales

7. Model 3

8. Autopilot

9. Distractions

Tesla - a bottomless pit

(Source: Joe Rohde, not Montana Skeptic, abseiling into the cash incinerator)

1. Stock

For some early-stage investors and traders, Tesla’s stock has been a solid profit generator, despite the recent descent. After former President Obama’s new energy policy speech in 2013, the stock rose sharply on high volume to then traded mostly sideways with a suitably high volatility for put buyers and short sellers to skim the astute contrarian’s share. Likewise, call buyers and dip buyers used the frequent opportunities to extend their position, hoping to sell at a higher price to a “greater fool” in the future.

Tesla share price and volume vs equity and debt sales

(Source: NASDAQ TSLA)

And that brings me to the point of it all. Neither self-acclamatory anecdotes of having bought the stock in 2013 nor having sold short in 2017 help the retiree or retail investor’s decision-making - right here, right now.

There are only two plain ways to make money from stocks: 1) buying and holding to then profit from the company’s profit in form of dividends, and 2) buying to sell later to a higher bidder. The question then is: Buy around $300 and hope for enticing regular dividends to emerge soon, or hope to sell in a few years for a good profit after taxes. In any case, no money is made until that sell button is clicked or the dividend announced. With no prospects of profitability for years to come, if ever, current buyers are choosing the second option, hoping to sell to a “greater fool,” a game of musical chairs.

Shareholders were diluted by a substantial 45% since 2013. Share-based compensation and the highly questionable SolarCity takeover – sold on synergies and profit contributions that never materialized – took their toll. It was a takeover primarily engineered to benefit Elon Musk and his cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive, who not only saw their precarious SolarCity stock options conveniently converted to safer Tesla stock options, but also their SolarCity bonds paid back prematurely with full interest. Several executives converted their stock options over time, particularly hard-working board member Kimbal Musk as soon as his options vest.

Tesla shareholder dilution

(Source: Tesla SEC filings)

Concurrent with dilution, institutional investors have been selling Tesla stock since the Model 3 presentation in March 2017. Institutional ownership declined from 73% in 2013 via 67% in 2016 to now 58%. Notable sellers were T. Rowe Price (NASDAQ:TROW) (-49%), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) (-60%) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) (-24%), among many other international banks and funds. The SEC will publish the quarterly tally of all 13F filings this month and it will be exciting to see if distribution to retail investors continued or if Chinese Tencent Holdings (OTCPK:TCTZF) increased its stake from 5%.

Tesla institutional ownership

(Source: Tesla SEC filings)

2. Finances

Tesla currently derives 89.4% of its total revenue from the automotive business including leasing and selling CPO cars. One can only wonder why, after 14 years have passed in the company’s history, Ben Kallo of Robert W. Baird & Co. or Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley continue claiming Tesla being an “energy,” “mobility,” “ride-sharing” or “software company.” If anything, Model 3 sales will skew the balance further toward automotive, with the SolarCity and Powerwall/Powerpack aspects of the business in a precarious state.

For three consecutive quarters, automotive sales and automotive leasing revenue have stalled. While total revenue rose slightly from Q2 to Q3, COGS rose more steeply. If it were not for the inclusion of SolarCity (energy generation and storage) and the increasing sale of CPO cars (services and other), YoY revenue growth would look even worse for a company that was to “disrupt” the automotive sector - whatever that's supposed to mean in concrete terms.

Tesla revenue segmentation

(Source: Tesla SEC filings)

Despite an ASP that held up well (26,137 cars reported as sold in total, with 20,608 cars sold directly and 5,529 cars that consequently must have gone to leasing), the ever soaring operational costs saw the company reporting its largest ever loss in Q3. As in previous quarters, the supposedly formidable cash and profit generators SolarCity (“synergies”) and Powerwall (“off the hook demand”) failed to deliver. It is very doubtful how the latter two product categories, suffering from commoditisation, and exquisite competition, will ever meaningfully contribute to the bottom line.

Tesla net loss vs net loss without regulatory credit sales

(Source: Tesla SEC filings)

Although the company has collected an enormous $982,375,000 in governmentally enforced regulatory credit sales from its automotive peers since 2013, that cash never helped turn the tide, simply helping to somewhat lower the growing quarterly losses. Rising competition will eventually see this source of easy money drying up.

Tesla ZEV and GHG credit revenue vs car sales

(Source: Tesla SEC filings)

The company continues failing to improve its cost structure, engaging in meaningless business efforts, struggling with the SolarCity legacy and a bloated workforce. The more cars it sells the more cash it burns.

Tesla cost of automotive sales vs cost of revenue vs cars sold

(Source: Tesla SEC filings)

While more cars were sold in Q3, Tesla’s cash burn acceleratedeven more and essential metrics like FCF and OCF worsened considerably. Profitability and dividends remain as elusive as ever, or, in other words, the company generates zero value for shareholders.

Tesla FCF and OCF and CapEx

(Source: Tesla SEC filings)

Besides ever-growing costs of revenue and deficient cash generation ability, Tesla’s current liability position, cash settlements due within next 12 months, and accounts payable, essentially an IOU from Tesla to its suppliers, paint an equally grim picture.

Tesla current liabilities Tesla accounts payable

(Source: Tesla SEC filings)

Since 2013, Tesla incessantly sells equity and debt, despite numerous claims it not being necessary, to finance the battery factory and Model 3 production, only to then use the proceeds to plug its cavernous operational holes. The battery factory that was supposed to be completed last month, powered by PV solar panels and wind turbines, is still far from being finished, while the Model 3 remains mainly a hand-built effort in Tesla’s dysfunctional and undersized Freemont facility.

Contrary to the CEO’s claims, the Model S never financed the Model X and the Model X never financed the Model 3. Consequently, Tesla exists at the mercy of other people’s money and interest expense began to climb more sharply to close in on $500 million per year (enhanced by SolarCity indebtedness, SolarCity interestingly being the behind-the-curtain guarantor for the recent $1.8 billion issue of senior notes). 80% of cash raised this year has already been incinerated. No surprise then that Tesla’s latest 5.30% junk bonds already yield 6.16%. Tesla’s total recourse debt is growing and it will be interesting to see if the company will either sell more stock or issue more junk bonds to finance its insatiable cash burn.

Tesla indebtedness

One should remember the beneficiaries from SolarCity bonds, as there were only token takers at the time of issue. From the Q3 10-Q:

“On March 21, 2017, $90.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 4.40% Solar Bonds held by SpaceX matured and were fully repaid by us. On June 10, 2017, $75.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 4.40% Solar Bonds held by SpaceX matured and were fully repaid by us. On April 11, 2017, our Chief Executive Officer, SolarCity’s former Chief Executive Officer and SolarCity’s former Chief Technology Officer exchanged their $100.0 million (collectively) in aggregate principal amount of 6.50% Solar Bonds due in February 2018 for promissory notes in the same amounts and with substantially the same terms. On April 18, 2017, our Chief Executive Officer converted all of his zero-coupon convertible senior notes due in 2020, which had an aggregate principal amount of $10.0 million (see Note 12, Common Stock).”

Honi soit qui mal y pense…

Tesla interest expense

(Source: Tesla SEC filings)

As far as warranty costs are concerned, after 14 years of making cars, Tesla having hired production specialists like Peter Hochholdinger from Audi (OTCPK:AUDVF), one would think the car’s reliability ceasing to be a burden on the company’s finances. At the Q3 earnings conference call, Elon Musk seriously claimed “the reliability for Model S and Model X continues to improve…”. Quite the contrary is true. Inundated service centers and an incessant stream of customer complaints reveal the CEO’s debonair disconnect from reality. Due to questionable build quality, actual warranty costs incurred are increasing and it remains to be seen if current warranty provision levels will be sufficient to cover an aging fleet.

Tesla cars sold vs warranty cost incurred and provision

(Source: Tesla SEC filings)

The steep rise in finished goods inventory is remarkable, as Bill Maurer pointed out recently, because the Model 3 is not yet a meaningful contributor, its parts rather attributable to the raw materials and work in progress portions of total inventory. Asked during the Q3 earnings conference callby John Murphy of Bank of America Merrill Lynch how much finished goods inventory can be sold in Q4, Deepak Ahuja tried to avoid the question, instead launching into a CapEx outlook. A supposedly production constrained company that amasses such levels of inventory - despite generating occasional sales peaks via discounting - is obviously demand constrained.

Tesla finished goods inventory

(Source: Tesla SEC filings)

The CFO’s CapEx discussion in the call revealed that previously planned-for spending levels would not be met. Deepak Ahuja suggested that capex related to stores, service centers and charging stations will be cut, which unfortunately coincides with the Model 3 roll-out and an urgent need to build out the service center and charging station network. While the CEO says: “If we were to make those CapEx decisions right now, we'd be making them – we're kind of shooting in the dark,” the CFO says it how it is: “So all those actions will come through in terms of helping us conserve cash.” In other words: Deepak Ahuja hints that the 10,000 or even the 5,000 Model 3 per week production rate, now supposed to happen in Q1 2018 (so much for “volume production” from July 2017), is in jeopardy, to string out the cash balance. Maybe Jason Wheeler saw it coming and left?

That said, the core problem regarding the company’s long-term viability remains straightforward: If one assumes that Tesla is able to make and sell 200,000 Model 3s per year (at Elon Musk’s projected ASP of $42,000) and if one then assumes that Tesla will be able to miraculously achieve a 12% net margin per car (more than Audi does for its A4 series or BMW (OTCPK:BMWYY) for its 3er series), only $5,040 per car or around $1 billion would arrive at the bottom line. One only has to look at the company’s precarious financial situation outlined above - primarily operating costs and debt services - to realize that even in such optimistic case, Tesla cannot remain a going concern without further equity and debt sales. It is indeed a bottomless pit.

3. Perspective

Investment forums are brimming with comments comparing Tesla to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) or Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), trying to re-frame it as a “technology company,” where, as shown just above, it is a niche automaker. Consequently, Tesla must be assessed in comparison to its industry peers - the global market for passenger vehicles in general and plug-in vehicles in particular.

To put an end to hackneyed mythology, devoid of actionable clues, one only needs to benchmark all three companies’ FCF generation ability over time to see that Apple and Amazon are in a different league.

Free cash flow generation Apple vs Amazon vs Tesla

4. Management

Recently, Tesla suffers from increasing managerial churn. Key employees left or were recycled (Deepak Ahuja) only to leave again (Ricardo Reyes), others are gone so fast after they joined that they can barely update their Linkedin page, while yet others, like high-profile hire Jim Keller, are never heard of again. Is he still there, working?

Core staff and workers that left or were laid off over the last 12 months:

  • 2016 - December: 1,541 employees, operations, installations and manufacturing SolarCity
  • 2016 - December: 1,506 employees, sales and marketing SolarCity
  • 2016 - Mateo Jaramillo, vice president products and programs - energy (8/2009-12/2016)
  • 2016 - Sterling Anderson, director of autopilot program (12/2014-12/2016)
  • 2017 - Ardes Johnson, director of sales - energy (4/2016-1/2017)
  • 2017 - David Nistér, vice president of autopilot vision (4/2015-3/2017)
  • 2017 - Satish Jeyachandran, director of hardware engineering (6/2010-3/2017)
  • 2017 - Jason Wheeler, CFO (11/2015-4/2017)
  • 2017 - Arnnon Geshuri, vice president of human resources (11/2009-5/2017)
  • 2017 - Chester Chipperfield, global creative director (5/2016-6/2017)
  • 2017 - Chris Lattner, vice president of autopilot software (1/2017-6/2017)
  • 2017 - Lyndon Rive, CEO SolarCity (7/2006-6/2017)
  • 2017 - Peter Rive, CTO SolarCity (7/2006-6/2017)
  • 2017 - Kurt Kelty, director of battery technology (3/2006-8/2017)
  • 2017 - Diarmuid O' Connell, vice president of business development (7/2006-9/2017)
  • 2017 - September: 141 SolarCity employees, customer account management and information technology
  • 2017 - September: 63 Tesla employees, customer account management and information technology
  • 2017 - Andrea James, investor relations consultant (9/2016 – 9/2017)
  • 2017 - Jeff Evanson, head of investor relations (1/2011-9/2017)
  • 2017 - October: 700 Tesla employees, various positions
  • 2017 - Jon Wagner, director of battery engineering (1/2013-10/2017)
  • 2017 - William Donnelly, president of Tesla finance (9/2013-10/2017)

Executive attrition and layoffs to nip worker’s rights representation in the bud leave only one conclusion. Unlike General Clausewitz, who in “On War” wrote about the role of commander: “The higher up the chain of command, the greater the need for boldness to be supported by a reflective mind, so that boldness does not degenerate into purposeless bursts of blind passion.” Tesla’s CEO appears to prefer an altogether different approach: “The beatings will continue until morale improves."

5. Market

For several years, enthusiastic energy and automotive market analysts have proclaimed that a collapse of the ICEV market and, subsequently, the oil and refinery business is imminent. However, investment decisions based on such theses have so far turned out unwise, evidenced by global passenger and commercial vehicle sales that show that EVs in their entirety (HEVs, PHEVs, BEVs and FCEVs) contribute with at best 1.4% in 2017, if the Chinese and European sales scenarios come out positive. Even under intentionally optimistic assumptions, suggested below, EVs would attain only 31% global sales share with nearly 50% of sales occurring in Asia, soon the number one global sales region. Recent record sales and profits reported by Daimler (OTCPK:DDAIF), General Motors (NYSE:GM) or Volvo (OTCPK:VOLVY) show ongoing demand domination of ICEVs.

Global passenger vehicle sales vs passenger EV sales Global passenger EV sales vs Tesla sales

(Source: OICA, EV Volumes, Tesla, etc.)

If Tesla continues its unprofitable markdown efforts like in March 2016, September 2016, and September 2017, it could reach this year’s finishing line at 97,000 sales - Elon Musk’s projected 100,000-200,000 Model 3 sales by the end of 2017 remaining entirely elusive. Tesla would thus have attained 0.136% global passenger vehicle sales share with rising unprofitability to boot.

Global PV and CV sales vs Tesla sales

(Source: OICA, EV Volumes, Tesla, etc.)

Global EV sales share is entirely dependent on massive multi-level government interventions by way of subsidies, incentives and perks. To date, Tesla’s cars remain ideologically motivated Veblen goods, financed by the common taxpayer. EV sales drop sharply, once enticements are dialed back or rescinded entirely, evidenced by Tesla’s decline in once formidable sales regions such as Denmark, Hong Kong or Norway, just as I explained in the global subsidies section of my previous article on Tesla.

In its 2018 budget, Norway is proposing taxation on overweight BEVs, hitting Tesla’s Model S and X hardest, as well as the upcoming heavyweight SUVs from Jaguar and Audi. The U.S. is contemplating a FIT-credit repeal by the end of this year. Those kinds of measures could inspire a last Q4 sales bonanza in those countries, which would be final proof of what really motivates BEV purchases - bargain hunting and the freeloading of benefits.

Model S registrations when subsidies are dialed back

(Source: Norwegian, Danish and Hong Kong car registration bodies)

Soon, over 50% of the global citizenry will live in dense conurbations and cities where potential BEV buyers will find no place to charge or see the very few charging stations blocked or inconveniently located, besides being unable to shoulder the very high cost of purchase. In other places, the constantly rising cost of electricity renders tales of economic advantage moot and eventually, with higher adoption, governments would have to road-tax BEVs so their owners contribute their fair share to the upkeep of traffic infrastructure.

Having achieved 9.6% global EV sales share this year and possibly 15.4% in 2020 under most positive assumptions - 339,000 total sales with a flawless Model 3 rollout that is already in jeopardy - Tesla never was and will be no market leader, neither in total nor in the EV niche market itself. That honour goes to the EV pioneers Toyota (NYSE:TM), Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) and Renault (OTCPK:RNLSY). Analyst reports that imagine Tesla’s global sales domination are plainly absurd, even more so in the light of existing and imminent competition:

BEVs from any vendor are, like their ICEV counterparts, produced, distributed and sold unsustainably with much raw material sourced and then processed unsustainably as well, in case of battery raw materials under excruciating circumstances. Declaring Tesla a “global market share winner” after first innings is, in the light of presented data, premature, if not entirely preposterous.

6. Sales

On the previous Q2 earnings conference call, Goldman Sachs analyst David Tamberrino probed Tesla’s CFO regarding Model S and X order rates. Deepak Ahuja’s illuminating answer to this rather material question was “not relevant,” in line with the company’s monthly national sales obfuscation strategy that is in stark contrast with industry peers. Tesla reports revenue for “U.S.,” “China,” “Norway” and “Other,” bizarrely omitting the UK, Germany and other large countries. (Donn Bailey’s recent article provides some color on China, which does not publish official car registrations).

Looking at the afterglow of what was said to be a disruptive explosion, stunning the global automotive sector with exponential growth, one can glean from Tesla’s automotive revenue and sales that the contrary is the case, no matter what management and supportive analysts try to make investors believe.

International official car registrations paint a clear picture: Model S sales stalled two years ago and Model X is about to. Even though the company offered enormous discounts and favourable financing terms in September (0.5% interest in Norway for a 10-year loan), Model S sales could not be pushed beyond their 2015 (Europe) and 2016 (U.S.) peaks, even though Tesla’s President of Global Sales and Service Jon McNeill was given a special incentive of $700,000 on 18th August to put quantity over margin. Form 14A from June this year revealed that Jon McNeill is the only executive with a personal cash incentive plan. Can, with the help of more CPOs coming off-lease and the Norway/U.S. “tax scares,” sales be boosted one more time?

Tesla monthly Model S registrations Europe Tesla monthly Model S registrations US and Canada Tesla monthly Model X registrations Europe Tesla monthly Model X registrations US and Canada

(Source: National car registration bodies Europe/insideevs.com U.S.)

Since January 2013, Tesla produced 271,131 cars but sold only 254,206 - a delta of 16,925 cars or an astonishing 6.24% of total production. What happened to all those cars? Is Tesla building the largest finished goods inventory in the automotive sector? The world’s largest loaner fleet? Will Tesla be able to sell thousands of inventoried cars with the old exterior design without “Autopilot 2.0” or better trim levels, even with a steep markdown? Or will it write them off? A company suffering from unremitting cash burn must convert inventory into sales. If one takes the ASP of around $100,000 from Q3 as a yardstick, Tesla squandered $1.69 billion in unrealised revenue in only four years.

Tesla production vs sales

(Source: Tesla SEC filings)

7. Model 3

The Model 3 (wheelbase 2,880 mm, 1,610 kg) is essentially a slightly smaller version of the Model S (wheelbase 2,960 mm, 2,200 kg) and features a frugal interior with an unergonomic potentially dangerous central touch screen, away from the driver’s line of sight. Having to navigate touchscreen menus to wind down the windows is taking things too far. No FM radio is available either, and neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto. Steve Jurvetson’s Model 3 pictures show the drabness and non-matching black colors. Elon Musk seems having believed that Level 5 cars are just around the corner.

Tesla recently recalled 11,000 Model X vehicles for defective seats and not for the first time. Unhappy with its prior suppliers, Tesla had brought production in-house. The company is taking its quest to vertical integration to new levels of absurdity, the NYT reports: “The company had even concocted its own Tesla blend of coffee to serve near its cafeterias. 'If we cannot get exactly what we want from the world,' one executive told me, 'then we have to go do it ourselves.'” The Model X is now among the 10 most unreliable cars.

Tesla’s rushed and careless Silicon Valley “ship now, fix later” approach to hardware manufacturing that saw the company skipping proper beta testing, which could render it a frequent service centre visitor. The first batches of cars had to be recalled immediately for faulty battery pack welds, leaky light cluster seals and bad paint jobs. Consequently, Tesla did not dare entering the car to the North American Car Of The Year award 2018, claiming instead that it had not a single spare car for submission. This comes from a company that assured investors that as of 1st July 2017 “volume production” had begun. Considering Tesla’s ongoing problems with quality control, the Model 3 is prone to suffer from the same issues that see service centers inundated with repeated Model S and X repairs and customers displeased by long waiting times even for the most mundane of parts.

During the Q3 earnings conference call, Elon Musk admitted, despite supposedly growing demand (debunked above) that Model S and X production is reduced from 2,000 to 1,800 per week to concentrate on Model 3 production. However, in the Q2 2014 earnings conference call, Elon Musk had assured investors: “In the case of the new S/X Body Line, which is a line that has been designed to be capable of 2,500 units a week, maybe more than that. Conservatively 2,500 units a week. At a lower cost point.” Maybe cost-cutting is why Tesla ships cars without seats and touchscreens?

Regarding Model 3 production and automation, the recent call illuminated that Tesla’s CEO is fully out of touch with the physical reality of robotics: "And we are pushing robots to the limit in terms of the speed that they can operate at, and asking our suppliers to make robots go way faster, and they are shocked because nobody has ever asked them that question. It's like if you can see the robot move, it's too slow. We should be caring about air friction like things moving so fast. You should need a strobe light to see it." He even went as far to claim: "And obviously we're going to be designing a lot of the robotic elements and what makes the robots internally. So yes, because current suppliers are just too slow to respond in some cases."

As a long-time KUKA and Gildemeister investor (until both companies were sold), I find the underlying insinuation that no automaker and robot vendor ever contemplated higher efficiencies plainly absurd, as did the Financial Times. Automated production lines have been around for decades. Tesla’s CEO seems to be fully unaware of why industrial robots have limits, affecting actuators, speed and precision when handling heavy parts reliably and minimal downtime. Air friction is certainly no constraint, but moments, acceleration and deceleration. One SA author even asserted: "Tesla appears to be innovating in robotics and factory innovation, a potential long-term source of durable competitive advantage." Will Fanuc, KUKA or ABB bow to the boisterous demands of a niche customer? Certainly not - global automation technology leaders innovate on their own accord.

Model 3 production is substandard by any means. Deepak Ahuja hints “the goal is now to fix Grohmann,” the automation company Tesla acquired in 2016, misleading its owner and existing customers - an issue still not resolved.

Justifiably, Tesla fans wonder why the “$35,000 mass-market” car is still a mirage. Will it ever arrive?

8. Autopilot

Tesla’s “Autopilot” effort is still in disarray after numerous promises were made that were then not kept. Customers spent $5,000 plus $3,000 for “full self driving” without the chance to ever enjoy Level 5 autonomy, what essentially means a robotic car that can drive itself at any time on any road under any weather conditions and any traffic condition. The managerial churn in Tesla’s autopilot department shows the company has dropped the ball more than once, first osborning AP 1.0 customers that were promised “lifetime upgrades” to then osborn AP 2.0 and later AP 2.5 customers who purchased hardware and software incapable of delivering “full self driving” ever.

Anyone hoping to join Tesla’s “Mobility” or “Ride-sharing” services, insinuated by Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley on multiple occasions, will be disappointed. The cars are technically incapable to be used in such contexts.

David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital in its recent investor letter puts it bluntly:

"Some of TSLA’s presumed market lead in areas like autonomous driving may more likely reflect TSLA’s willingness to put inadequately tested and dangerous products on the road rather than a true technological advantage."

9. Distractions

SolarCity

Several SA authors already have extensively covered SolarCity’s product deficiencies, shady business practices and financial predicament. Please consult Montana Sceptic’s, Bill Cunningham’s or EnerTuition’s SA articles on the matter.

Any investor still buying into the “synergy story” or “PV solar dominance story” must read David Robinson’s latest article in The Buffalo News, a local journalist that over time became more critical of how the local community, job seekers and the New York taxpayer are peppered with ever changing messages.

PV solar tiles

Since June 2017, the allegedly revolutionary PV solar tiles, a product category that already was commercially unsuccessful in the European and American marketplace, are being installed on customers’ roofs… only they aren’t. To this day, not a single forum post, Instagram picture or You

SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline K-Dog

  • Administrator
  • Sous Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 1995
    • View Profile
    • K-Dog
Re: Official EV Carz Thread
« Reply #123 on: November 11, 2017, 08:40:41 PM »
So many graphs, so little time.  History repeats.


Offline RE

  • Administrator
  • Chief Cook & Bottlewasher
  • *****
  • Posts: 28377
    • View Profile
Re: Official EV Carz Thread
« Reply #124 on: November 11, 2017, 09:09:07 PM »
So many graphs, so little time.  History repeats.



Loads fine for me.

RE
SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline azozeo

  • Sous Chef
  • ****
  • Posts: 5245
    • View Profile
EV Carz Lamborghini creates world's first 'self-healing' sports car
« Reply #125 on: November 14, 2017, 03:12:33 AM »
https://www.sott.net/article/367448-Lamborghini-creates-worlds-first-self-healing-sports-car
Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face
And stars fill my dream
I’m a traveler of both time and space
To be where I have been
To sit with elders of the gentle race
This world has seldom seen
They talk of days for which they sit and wait
All will be revealed

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
0 Replies
222 Views
Last post August 04, 2016, 02:12:09 PM
by azozeo
0 Replies
172 Views
Last post February 28, 2017, 02:09:41 AM
by RE
0 Replies
113 Views
Last post June 10, 2017, 05:12:26 PM
by RE