Tesla has a rough second half of February.
On February 15, Amazon led a $ 700 million investment in Rivian, an American truck manufacturer. In a note to clients, automotive analyst Adam Jonas, analyst from Morgan Stanley, said the investment "could prove to be the main milestone for US cars for the whole of 2019." Rivian does not make sedans like Tesla, but is a competitor. Tesla's CEO Elon Musk in August described an electric pickup truck as "probably my personal favorite for the next product."
On February 20, Tesla announced that Advocate General Dane Butswinkas had gone after just two months at work. That was the second professional departure this year after Tesla CFO Deepak Ahuja said at the end of January that he was going to retire sometime in 201
On February 21, trusted reviewer consumer reports reported their recommendation of Tesla Model 3 electric sedan, citing problems with body hardware and automotive electronics, such as the touch screen freezer and rear windows that break from the cold. A Tesla spokesperson told NBC this week that the company had addressed "the vast majority" of the issues reported by Consumer Reports, but the stock did happen anyway.
On February 22, Mike Jackson, outgoing car dealer AutoNation, and a long-standing Tesla critic, went on CNBC and pilloried Musk to pay tribute to the company's self-driving efforts in an "almost unethical way."
Tesla, asked about the negative developments in the last week or so, pointed to model 3 deliveries that began earlier planned in China, an event company sponsored to introduce girls to engineering, and a new feature called "dog mode" as examples of good things happening recently. Tesla's stock is down 11% so far this year.
Other recent signs that Tesla could face a tough year were more subtle. In its 2018 annual report, split on February 19, Tesla described itself as the world's first vertically integrated sustainable energy company. Sounds good, right? Except, in the two annual annual reports, Tesla used the word "only" instead of "first", which causes you to wonder if your competitors are up.
When asked about using "first" instead of "only" Tesla spokesman refused to comment on the record in the 2018 annual report, except noting that Tesla had previously used the word "first" instead of "just" for to describe in a note to investors from March 2018.
Tesla also noted in the annual report for 2018 that it can "face difficulties in meeting our sales and delivery goals both in existing markets and in new markets," and that unanswered goals "Can lead to negative publicity and damage to our brand and have a material negative impact on our business."
It is an unfortunate start of a year that promises to be challenging for Tesla, as it aims to beat an annual production speed of half a million cars, or about 10,000 a week. The company lost its Model 3 production target (paywall) strongly in the third quarter of 2018. The federal income tax credit for US Tesla buyers is also now shrinking, as the company triggered a credit termination period when it delivered its 200,000. qualified electric car last year.
Even Tesla's most faithful followers have only so much patience. Some customers are allegedly clamoring to get their $ 1,000 deposits back after losing the belief that their orders are ever met.