Tesla stock (NASDAQ:TSLA) is dropping after the opening bell on Monday, on the heels of Elon Musk’s new guidance for the company’s performance in the following 12 months, as well as a fresh round of criticisms from its dedicated skeptics.
Musk’s estimate came as part of a discussion about the impact of Tesla in the auto industry. In his tweet, Musk stated that there are 2.5 billion cars and trucks on the planet; thus, even replacing 1% of that number will require a production rate of 25 million vehicles per year. “Tesla will make over 500k cars in next 12 months, but that’s a mere 2% of 25M or 0.02% of global vehicle fleet. Car industry slow -> demand >> supply,” Musk wrote.
Apart from Musk’s comments about Tesla’s production in the coming year, the CEO also discussed his disappointment at the coverage the electric car maker has been receiving from mainstream media. Musk mentioned a number of publications in his tweets, including Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. True to form, the Wall Street Journal promptly published a negative piece about Tesla on Monday, criticizing, of all things, how the company “can’t stop dreaming big.”
Tesla has been facing a notable amount of criticism after it released its Q1 vehicle delivery and production report, which revealed that the company showed a roughly 30% decline in electric car deliveries and a 12% decline in production compared to Q4 2018. Tesla’s vehicle deliveries actually grew 110% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to Q1 2018, but these figures mostly got lost in the pileup of negative coverage that the company received after releasing its first-quarter results.
Among the most prominent voices that immediately went on the offensive against Tesla was short-seller and Greenlight Capital CEO David Einhorn, who promptly wrote a letter to investors claiming that “the wheels are falling off” at Tesla, which is allegedly “on the brink” due to slowed demand, “desperate” price cutting, cutting CapEx, layoffs, and the departure of senior executives. Einhorn further blasted the company for allegedly using its customers as “guinea pigs,” while predicting that “without initial surge demand elsewhere, TSLA will struggle to even maintain first quarter unit volumes.”
In response to the Greenlight Capital CEO’s allegations, Fox Business Network’s Charlie Gasparino noted that Tesla’s senior executives remain confident in the company as well as its financial state. Gasparino described the sentiments of Tesla’s senior executives as follows.
“Bankers are now, when you see sort of controversy like this, people questioning the numbers of Tesla, whether it’s selling enough cars, and particularly their cash position, that’s the signal for bankers to go and pitch financing deals to Tesla, and they are doing it actively as we speak. But what the company is saying is much different than what Einhorn is saying. This is what the company is telling bankers: they don’t believe there’s a need for financing in the near-term. What they describe as near-term, three months, maybe six months. They don’t think that their cash position is eroding as fast as the street and Mr. Einhorn and other people think it’s eroding. They believe in the near-term, that their finances are fine,” Gasparino said.
Tesla’s senior executives reportedly maintain support for Elon Musk as well. “Now, we should also point out that Tesla executives and these are senior executives, the conversation always turns to crazy Elon. They describe him as ‘crazy,’ ‘a handful,’ but here’s the best one: ‘a weird dude.’ But they also say, despite his quirks, they describe him as a genius. They also believe in the company, despite all the competition that’s coming at them from others in the electric car space who are gonna get the sort of government handouts that Tesla got early on. They think they have the best electric car in the world. They are well-poised, they got the right guy leading it, (and it’s) a guy who will work 24/7 to make it work,” Gasparino added.
As of writing, Tesla is trading at -3.08% at $259.46 per share.
Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.