"No Demand Problem": Musk Doubles Down On Whoppers During Tesla Meeting

Just weeks ahead of having to face reality report his company's Q2 numbers, Elon Musk went on the record yesterday during Tesla's annual general meeting and told the world that there was "not a demand problem" for Tesla vehicles, according to ARS Technica

As a reminder, this is the same CEO that once promised profitable quarters going forward from Q2 2018 - and who just posted a more than $700 million loss to start off 2019. But the market once again appeared to take Musk's pump guidance at its word, and Tesla stock shot up in Tuesday's after-hours session and Wednesday's pre-market session.


In his initial statement to the audience, Musk reiterated what he said in a conveniently leaked email weeks ago: that there was a chance that Q2 2019 could be a "record quarter". 

Musk said: "I want to be clear that there is not a demand problem... Sales have far exceeded production, and production has been pretty good. We have a decent shot at a record quarter... if not, it's going to be very close."

But when asked about profitability, a metric that Musk had already guided for on a consistent basis, his tone was less optimistic. He said: "Profitability is always challenging when you're a fast-growing company. Last year, we doubled our fleet. It's hard to be profitable for that level of growth."

And then, as if to fulfill some double-talk requirement, Musk added: "I think we can be cash-flow positive despite having a very fast growth rate." 

For good measure, he then pivoted to telling the audience he didn't think it would "be long before we have a 400-mile-range car."

Musk then continued, discussing battery availability and full self driving. As a reminder, Consumer Reports called the latest version of Autopilot "less competent than a human." At the general meeting, Musk more than likely did the right thing by not promising any specific dates and timelines for full-self driving, but he did reiterate that the feature "should be able to go from your garage to your parking space at work" without assistance.

He told the audience that his prototype for FSD could "can take me from my house to the office." 

But then Musk admitted that there were ongoing challenges with perfecting the "summon" feature that is supposed to allow your car to find its way to you autonomously in a parking lot.

Musk also said at the meeting that one of the primary constraints for the company was availability of batteries. But how to solve that issue? Get into the mining business, of course, Musk said. Robotaxis are so last month.

Musk said: "We might get into the mining business, I don't know—we'll do whatever we have to make sure we can scale at the fastest rate possible."

Finally, Musk commented that he expects demand for the Model Y to eventually be greater than the S, the X, and the 3 combined. This stands at odds with Morgan Stanely's Adam Jonas, who dryly said on an investor call last month that "nobody cares about the Model Y". 

Musk was once again incoherent when trying to pin down a timeline for the Model Y: "We expect to hit volume production towards the end of next year," he said, before saying, "internally, we're shooting for sooner than that."

Finally, Musk made two more pivots. First, telling the crowd he hoped to announce a pick-up truck sometime this summer. And second, that the solar roof tiles that investors were promised years ago and has yet to materialize is currently on "full version three" - whatever the hell that means - and that, when finished, it would last 30 years, would be easy to install, and would be low cost.