Tesla Lookback - One Year Since Model 3 Launched What Has Changed For the Better & the Worse
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One year ago (on July 29th, 2017) Tesla delivered its first Model 3 cars to new owners. A lot has happened with Tesla in this first year of Model 3 sales. We take a look back and hit some of the highlights with a focus on how the company has changed since the Model 3 arrived.
Tesla 10% Stock Price Decline In One Year
Tesla's stock has declined in value by 10% in the past year. Of course, there have been ups and downs, but a year ago the stock price was at about $336 ($335.50 at the end of the first trading day after Model 3 launched) and as of today at the end of trading it was at $302. If the Model 3 has done anything to help Tesla's stock price it is not apparent from a one-year lookback. Just for comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 15% in the same period that Tesla dropped 10%. GM's stock is up 10% in the same period. Toyota stock is up 17% in the same period.
Tesla Model 3 Deliveries - Promised vs. Actual
When the Model 3 was launched, Elon Musk told fans, reservation holders, and investors that the by the end of December the company would be producing 5,000 Model 3 cars per week. We took that promise to mean on average, every week by that point in time and from there forward. This was a promise Elon Musk didn't keep, and has not yet kept. By now, using Musk's original promises, Tesla should have delivered about 150,000 Model 3 cars to new owners. Instead, Tesla has delivered about 45,000 Model 3 cars. About 1/3 of what was expected and promised. This past month Tesla loudly proclaimed it had finally met its goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 cars in one week. But it was just one week. Tesla only built about 250 cars in the other three weeks and Model 3 deliveries actually dropped in June compared to May.
Tesla Model 3 Pricing - The Big Lie
Of all Tesla's fibs, misunderstandings, and exaggerations, perhaps the worst lie of all is the price of the Model 3. Elon Musk told anyone who would listen, as often as they would tolerate hearing it, that the Model 3 would be "mainstream" and would start at $35K. The bait and switch continues. There is no $35K Tesla Model 3, there never was, and none are scheduled to be built. The next trim coming has a price of about $84K when fully equipped. Tesla is an automaker for the wealthy who builds low volume luxury vehicles. A year after the Model 3 entered the market that has become more clear, not less.
Elon Musk - Sex, Lies, and Videotape
During the worst of the Tesla Model 3 launch fiasco, Elon Musk told the world he was sleeping on the Gigafactory floor. In other words, he was focusing on the Model 3 launch. However, just a few weeks later, with no measurable improvement in Model 3 sales, his own twitter feed showed him hard at work on Space X and dancing in New York.
Tesla Huge Layoffs and Executives Flee
Tesla laid off 9% of its workforce in one day. This was the second big layoff in a year. Turnover of executives at Tesla is almost shocking.
Elon Musk Refers To Rescue Hero As a "Pedo" - Offers to Save Flint
Looking hard for a win, Elon Musk became wrapped up in the rescue of a team of boys in trouble a world away. He sent a machine to help, that wasn't used, and when those who did get results and who did offer useful help criticized him, Musk called the man a "pedo" as in pedophile. Twice. In writing on twitter. Shortly after Musk offered to help the people of Flint with their water crisis. Which had been brought under control before the Model 3 launch.
Tesla Model 3 Reservations Drop By 23%
In June, it was revealed by Second Source that Tesla Model 3 reservations had dropped by double digits after the delays. Are reservations still robust? Yes. Are cancellations ever a good thing? No.
Tesla, Inc - Cash Crisis
The news today, less than 100 hours form the anniversary of the Model 3's first deliveries, is that Tesla's cash crunch is so severe Tesla is asking its suppliers to refund them some of the money they have been paid for their goods and services. One analyst called that "alarming." Tesla's bonds are now trading at 90 cents on the dollar. Tesla's debt has reached double-digit billions.
Tesla Year In Review
Draw your own conclusions about how the Model 3 has changed Tesla. If this past year has been good for Tesla it is hard to see it in objective metrics like Tesla's stock price, its balance sheet, and its deliveries. If Tesla's corporate reputation or Elon Musk's as a CEO has improved it's hard to find the evidence.
Tesla 1-year stock price information courtesy of Google and NASDAQ