Tesla Stock Sinks on Reports of New Criminal Investigation

Posted October 28, 2018

Elon Musk on Wednesday said that Tesla is "obviously" making moves for its own rideshare service that would compete with companies like Uber and Lyft.

The Journal reported that former Tesla employees, who received subpoenas earlier in the investigation, have been contacted in recent weeks by the FBI for further testimony.

Tesla's CEO Elon Musk confirmed yesterday that he has already approved a prototype for the Model Y. This is the clearest indication so far that the all-electric crossover SUV could be hitting the market very soon.

"When we started the Model 3 production ramp, we were transparent about how hard it would be", the representative added.

Production will initially take place in California, but Tesla is "moving rapidly" to get production going in China and wants to have that going next year, according to Musk. "So we're driving to have Model 3 production for the China market or the Greater China market active certainly next year".

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Talking about Tesla's future plans - which include the Model Y, a new Roadster, a lorry and a pick-up - Musk said the firm has "the most exciting product roadmap of any company on Earth".

The Model 3 is a key part of Tesla's plan to expand from a niche player in the luxury segment to a vehicle maker with broader appeal.

He assured analysts that Tesla was not starving new vehicle development to feed profitability. If it can't, and that goes for all the companies listed above, it could leave investors quite disappointed down the road.

He expressed confidence that Tesla would remain profitable, despite using cash to pay off notes.

Tesla has denied the claims in the lawsuit, saying it disclosed production bottlenecks once they were identified, and citing Musk's public statements that the company was undergoing a period of "production hell" in 2017. Tesla's working capital and cash position improved in 3Q18, softening near term liquidity concerns, which should allow debt holders with shorter maturities to breathe a sigh of relief. Baillie Gifford & Co. now owns 13,171,801 shares of the electric vehicle producer's stock valued at $4,517,269,000 after acquiring an additional 395,727 shares during the last quarter.

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The CEO said during a May 2016 earnings call that Tesla would aim to produce 100,000 to 200,000 Model 3 sedans during the second half of 2017.

Tesla's stock, which rose 5.2% Friday during official trading, was down 1.8% in after-hours trading. The exact statement was as follows: "In order to significantly increase the affordability of Model 3, we have chose to accelerate our manufacturing timeline in China".

"However, we believe the goals the company is putting forward now likely have less potential for upside surprise (targeting another quarter of positive FCF and a long-term Model 3 margins of 25%) and we question if we are going to see much better results than the company delivered".

Electric auto advocates are wildly pointing to this news, loudly declaring that automakers should note that electric vehicles are profitable to make.

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