Elon Musk has announced that Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) would be allowing a crowdsourced question to be asked during its upcoming first-quarter financial report and earnings call.
The update was posted as a response to a request on Twitter from Galileo Russell, an independent analyst and host of YouTube’s HyperChange TV channel. In classic Musk fashion, the Tesla CEO acknowledged the investor’s request, responding with a simple “Ok.”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 1, 2018
Elon Musk’s decision to allow a crowdsourced question during the company’s Q1 2018 earnings call is a bit unorthodox, considering that inquiries from retail investors are usually reserved for the company’s annual shareholders’ meetings. Galileo’s crowdsourced question, if any, could be an opportunity for retail investors to address topics and concerns that are commonly not discussed in Tesla’s quarterly Q&A sessions.
Expectations are high that Tesla would be posting a flat or slightly lower revenue this quarter over Q4 2018, thanks to the increasing number of deliveries for the Model 3 — a vehicle that is lower-priced than the Model S and Model X. As such, Tesla’s first-quarter revenue would likely be somewhere in the $3.3 billion (similar to Q4 2017) or in the $3.2 billion ($100 million less than Q4 2017) range.
Tesla is also expected to post operating losses of up to $700 million and gross margins at the sub-15% level. Both of these factors, however, are directly affected by the ongoing manufacturing ramp for the Model 3, since Tesla’s upfront investments on the electric car’s line are not expected to pay off until production reaches economies of scale. Tesla is also expected to post a $4.01 loss per share for the first quarter.
If a leaked email from Elon Musk to Tesla employees is any indication, Tesla is now trying to pursue profitability within this year. In his message, Musk noted that the company has already reached a point where it could actually start generating revenue. Musk followed this up in a tweet responding to The Economist, with the CEO declaring that Tesla would be profitable by Q3 and Q4 2018.
“A fair criticism leveled at Tesla by outside critics is that you’re not a real company unless you generate a profit, meaning simply that revenue exceeds costs. It didn’t make sense to do that until reaching economies of scale, but now we are there,” Musk wrote.
Tesla is set to post its Q1 2018 financial results after the market closes on Wednesday, May 2, 2018. A live Q&A session is also scheduled at 2:30 p.m. PST (5:30 p.m. EST).
Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.