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Tesla, Elon Musk’s ambitious automobile company, has countless fans cheering it on and a lot of hype surrounding each new product it develops. Its newest car, the Model 3, has been dubbed “a modern marvel” among other lofty accolades. In early July, the company met a key production goal by cranking out 5,000 new cars in a single week, and there was much fanfare. There’s just one problem: the company has yet to put up any real results, at least in terms of dollars and cents.
As The Washington Post reported, Tesla is having trouble with both burning through cash and burning out their employees. The company has forced its people to work long, brutal hours, and yet there still isn’t any profit to show for it. Tesla’s losses in the second quarter of 2018 alone have been pegged at about $900 million. Musk’s company has not made a profit in 15 years. The eccentric billionaire and his ideas are cutting-edge and have a way of capturing people’s attention, but they’ve yet to prove they can make money.
“Being smart’s not enough,” financial expert Steve Eisman said of Musk. “You’ve got to execute. And he’s got execution problems.”
At this point, it’s not clear whether Tesla can come up with the cash it needs just to survive. Historically, Musk has been able to raise as much money as he wanted by finding investors, but those possibilities are beginning to dry up. Analysts told the Post that Tesla is no longer viewed as a brilliant tech visionary. Rather, it’s seen as a car company with three overly expensive products and not enough sales.
If there’s any reason for hope at Tesla, it’s that production has begun to get more efficient in 2018. The 5,000-cars-in-a-week was a major breakthrough. Musk has pledged to investors that if the company can continue turning out cars at that pace, the company will finish 2018 in the black.