Tesla has always had a fairly controversial business model. Skeptics have continually argued that this vehicle company is surprisingly unprofitable for a company often touted as an up-and-coming success story. Tesla’s defenders have pointed out that leading companies like Amazon also struggled initially before becoming profitable enterprises. Nevertheless, it is increasingly difficult to ignore that Tesla is consistently falling short of its lofty manufacturing and delivery goals.
Recently, Tesla released information about its delivery numbers for the second quarter of 2017. Officially, Tesla claimed to have delivered 22,000 vehicles, which matches the company’s stated delivery goals. Unfortunately, Tesla neglected to say how many of its vehicles are classified as “in-transit.” This represents a change from Tesla’s standard operating procedure. Some analysts are concerned that Tesla is now drawing from its in-transit pool to muddy the waters and juice its delivery numbers. Quite a few of Tesla’s stockholders have a lot of unanswered questions about the company’s practices. During 5 of the last 7 quarters, Tesla has fallen back on claims of manufacturing problems when pressed about missed goals. Also, there are some signs that demand for Tesla’s cars may not be as high as the company expected.
Investor concerns are only natural when a company has to revise their estimates. At the same time, there’s no denying that Tesla founder Elon Musk has confounded many critics in the past. Also, Musk has a unique manner of goal-setting that makes it inherently difficult to assess the company’s success based on short-term metrics. Instead of focusing on quarterly results, Musk sets visionary long-term goals. In the late 1990s, a young Musk described a number of goals he was seeking to achieve over the course of his career. Over the course of the past 20 years, Musk has achieved many things that once must have seemed impossible to many.
Though Tesla has not achieved true profitability yet, this company has succeeded in making the electric car business legitimate in eyes of investors and the public. Although the Q2 report from Tesla does have some warning signs, it may be too early for people to give up on this remarkable company.