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CEO Musk: Tesla Won’t Disable Autopilot Feature

NTSB latest to launch investigation after three crashes.

by on Jul.13, 2016

Tesla CEO Musk won't pull the plug on Autopilot and, if anything, insists it will enhance safety.

Despite growing concerns about the safety of its Autopilot technology, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is making it clear he has no intention of disabling the semi-autonomous driving system. If anything, the South African-born entrepreneur argues that Autopilot will save lives in the long-run.

Not everyone is quite so confident, at least not in its current beta mode.  The battery-carmaker itself has confirmed the technology played at least some role in a fatal crash on May 9, and two Tesla owners have since blamed Autopilot for crashes that have occurred this month.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched a preliminary investigation following the Florida accident that killed former Navy SEAL Joshua Brown. The National Transportation Safety Board is now conducting its own investigation. Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking at Tesla’s decision not to publicly reveal the fatal crash for eight weeks – until after the maker’s latest, $2 billion stock offering.


Tesla Model 3: Hit or Hype?

Advance reservations pass 250,000 -- but will they actually translate into sales?

by on Apr.04, 2016

Tesla says the base Model 3 will get 215 miles per charge - and start at $35,000.

Even before the new Model 3 sedan was unveiled late last Thursday, Tesla Motors said it had logged more than 100,000 advanced orders. And as of the following Monday morning, the Silicon Valley carmaker claimed the figure had topped 250,000 – a number that would translate into more than $10 billion in retail sales.

The surge of interest is unprecedented in the auto industry, resembling more the sort of frenzy that has greeted the launch of a new Apple iPhone. But at this early stage, at least 18 months before the first car is scheduled to roll off the assembly line, can the new Tesla Model S be considered a hit, or a case of battery-powered hype?


That’s a question which few industry observers seem to agree upon. Investors have clearly been impressed, driving Tesla’s stock price up by over $15 a share since the hours before the electric sedan’s unveiling. That run-up comes despite the warnings issued by some key analysts.


Bear Market Bites Tesla

Analysts and investors grow skeptical as EV maker prepares 2015 earnings report.

by on Feb.10, 2016

A scene from the new Tesla ad, Serious Wonder, featuring the voice of Nikola Tesla.

Tesla got a much-needed, albeit small bump on Wall Street Tuesday, but shares of the maverick battery-carmaker have been trading near a two-year low ahead of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings announcement.

The stock is down by more than a third since the beginning of the year, a downturn significantly more severe than the bearish turn the overall stock market has been experiencing, and a sign of increased concern by key analysts like Barclay’s Brian Johnson. On Tuesday, he cut his forecast from $180 to just $160 a share.

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There are still a handful of analysts who rate Tesla a “Buy,” and even a “Strong Buy,” but the mood has turned sharply in recent months, Stifel’s James Albertine summing up by cautioning, “We see few catalysts to turn short-term bears bullish.”


Tesla Beats Forecast – Still Loses $75 Mil in Q3

Investors rally despite loss.

by on Nov.03, 2015

The third quarter saw the long-awaited, and long-delayed, launch of the Model X battery SUV.

Tesla Motors managed to beat analysts’ forecasts for the third quarter, but still delivered an adjusted, $75 million loss for the third quarter, or 58 cents a share. Nonetheless, that was two cents better than what was expected, according to S&P Capital, sending Tesla stock up in after-hours trading.

The net loss, using more conventional GAAP procedures, came to $229.9 million for the July to September quarter, or $1.78 a share, compared with a $74.7 million deficit, or 60 cents a share, a year earlier.

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The announcement comes at a critical time for Tesla. The maker just launched its second product line, the Model X battery-electric SUV. And it has begun rolling out its new AutoPilot system which permits semi-autonomous freeway driving. But the maker also took some recent hits from a key consumer group over ongoing reliability problems.


Tesla Stock Sale Exceeds Expectations

Battery-carmaker exceeds expectations by nearly 50%.

by on Aug.21, 2015

Tesla is finally ready to launch the delayed Model X.

Tesla Motors has gotten an even bigger cash cushion than it anticipated. Worried that its cash horde was dwindling due to the unexpectedly high cost of developing the new Model X battery SUV, the California maker had hoped to raise about $500 million through a new stock offering.

But as underwriters wrap up their efforts they have announced that Tesla actually brought in $738.3 million, or nearly 50% more than originally anticipated. That said, the company might have generated even more cash had its stock not taken a bit of a tumble in recent months.

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The secondary stock offering came in the wake of a second-quarter earnings report that revealed the carmaker had only $1.5 billion in cash, a 57% year-over-year decline. It has been burning through cash due to what CEO Elon Musk acknowledged was an unexpectedly “challenging” development program for the long-delayed Model X.


Tesla Deliveries Fall Short as EV Maker Cuts Outlook

But overall loss slightly less than expected.

by on Aug.05, 2015

Despite two price hikes, Tesla saw a jump in Model S orders - but cut its full-year forecast.

Tesla had some mixed news for investors as it revealed its second-quarter results Wednesday afternoon. The maker’s loss was less than anticipated by industry analysts, but the maker fell short of expected vehicle deliveries and cut its forecast for the full year.

The news sent the California battery-carmaker’s shares tumbling in after-hours trading. A critical test in the coming months will be the long-overdue roll-out of the Model X sport-utility vehicle, which Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk acknowledged was “challenging.”

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“Some things are particularly challenging,” he said during a conference call with media and analysts, “But I think it’s going to be the best vehicle in the world and I think it’s going to blow people away.”


Tesla Pays CEO Musk Less Than Line Workers – But Stock Run-Up Worth Billions

Maker expected to target stationary battery market.

by on Apr.23, 2015

Why is this man smiling? Over $6 billion in stock might help when added to Elon Musk's meager base pay.

While most automotive CEOs can expect to take home seven- and even eight-figure paychecks, Tesla Motors founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk earned barely as much as one of his company’s assembly line workers last year, just $35,360.

But lest you worry he can’t support his large family, Musk has also benefited handsomely from the surge in Tesla stock over the last two years – while also taking home a paycheck from Space Exploration Technologies, the private rocket launching service he also founded.

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Though well off from its 52-week high, Tesla stock has been on a roll in recent weeks, investors betting on a strong first-quarter earnings report – and on the new line of business Tesla is expected to announce next week, the company reportedly planning to enter the stationary battery power market.


Tesla Plunges Deeper into the Red

China problems take their toll.

by on Feb.12, 2015

Low gas prices have also been taking a bite out Tesla's stock price in recent weeks.

However you count the numbers, it wasn’t a good quarter for Tesla Motors.

The Silicon Valley battery-carmaker has been embroiled in controversy for its use of non-standard accounting practices that, critics say, make its balance sheet look a good bit better than it might with more traditional bookkeeping. But there was no way to perfume Tesla’s weak fourth-quarter performance, when it sank $107.6 million, or 86 cents a share, into the red.

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That was $74.7 million more than it run up in losses during the same period in 2013, in part due to problems selling all the vehicles it produced at the end of the year. The maker did hit its production target of 35,000 vehicles for all of 2014, but ran into trouble finding a home for all those Model S sedans. China was a major part of that problem.


Tesla Won’t Deliver a Profit Until 2020, CEO Musk Warns

But founder also promises to push volume to 500,000 by 2020, and “a couple million” by 2025.

by on Jan.14, 2015

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk has no plans to leave Tesla anytime soon.

Don’t expect to see a profit from Tesla Motors – at least not using generally accepted accounting rules – until at least 2020, CEO Elon Musk cautioned during an appearance in Detroit on Tuesday. That’s despite a big jump in sales the company founder is predicting.

By the end of the decade, Musk is promising to sell at least 500,000 vehicles annually – a nearly 3,000% increase over 2014’s total of 17,300 Model S sedans — as Tesla adds new products and works out the admitted kinks in its production system.


In the meantime, Musk says he’ll be sticking around to oversee Tesla, at least until it gets its first mass market battery-car, the Model III, into production.  Musk suggested that he intends to stay at Tesla “until I die,” but opened the door to turning over the role of chief executive to someone else once he reaches his most immediate goal of bring an electric vehicle to the masses.


BMW Nixes Tesla Alliance

German maker says “nein” to battery, component partnership.

by on Dec.03, 2014

BMW put to bed rumors of plans to tie up with Tesla, just weeks after Elon Musk suggested the possibility.

It can be a challenge deciphering the constant flow of tweets and blog posts emerging from Tesla Motors’ Silicon Valley headquarters, especially those penned by CEO Elon Musk. And there have been plenty of questions raised about a recent revelation that Tesla was talking to Germany’s BMW about a possible alliance deal.

Whether there were ever any real discussions is far from clear, but what is indisputable is that BMW has formally ruled out any plans to cooperate with the ambitious California battery-carmaker.

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After a spokesman initially downplayed such a possibility, suggesting BMW frequently talks to possible partners, senior officials made it clear in an interview with the German business magazine, Wirtschaftswoche, that they aren’t interested. And by that, they explained, there would be no alliance, nor any acquisition of Tesla stock by the Bavarian maker. (more…)