Tesla’s Fremont factory has reportedly reduced its operations to just one-fourth of the facility’s capacity, but this does not mean that the electric car maker will soon be teetering on the edge of ruin. This is according to a recent post from Loup Ventures Managing Partner Gene Munster, who noted that Tesla would be fine even if its main electric car factory gets shut down due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
Munster noted that the Fremont factory’s shutdown of its manufacturing operations will likely have very little impact on Tesla’s long-term outlook. This is due to a variety of factors, one of which is Tesla’s strong financial standing. After ending 2019 with over $6 billion in cash, for example, the company raised an additional $2.3 billion in February while it was at a position of strength.
This additional capital, which pushed Tesla’s cash to about $8.6 billion, will go a long way to ensuring that the company is in no danger even if its main factory gets temporarily shut down. While Munster noted that the magnitude of Tesla’s cash burn without Fremont’s vehicle production is challenging to predict, the company’s expenses will likely be moderate compared to previous quarters when the facilities were operating at full capacity.
But even beyond Tesla’s strong balance sheet, Fremont’s shutdown also does not change the ongoing transition of the auto industry towards electric vehicles at all. This means that once the outbreak is over, Tesla would likely hit the ground running. Overall demand for cars might see a global decline following the C-19 outbreak, but consumers’ preference for electric vehicles like the Model 3 and Model Y might very well remain as strong as before the pandemic, if not stronger.
That being said, Tesla may end up missing its own guidance for vehicle deliveries this year if Fremont’s shutdown gets extended. Elon Musk and team have set lofty goals for 2020, with the company aiming to comfortably deliver 500,000 cars over the year. Tesla is also seeking to ramp the production capabilities of Gigafactory Shanghai to about 150,000 vehicles in 2020. Considering the current circumstances, there is a chance that Tesla’s production and delivery numbers may fall below target this year, but the company’s goals in China may still be feasible.
Giga Shanghai, after all, is now back in full form following a government-mandated shutdown due to the onset of the Coronavirus in the country. Following the shutdown, Tesla China gradually resumed operations, and today, it appears that even construction in the Phase 2 area is well underway. Model Y production is also expected to begin in China soon, which could help boost the company’s numbers this year despite the C-19 virus’ effects in Tesla’s US facilities.
Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.