As Tesla Inc. (TSLA) battles with production shortfalls for its first mass-market vehicle, the Model 3 sedan, many investors have grown impatient with the Silicon Valley automaker and its high-profile CEO, Elon Musk. On Friday, the outspoken serial entrepreneur and angel investor took to Twitter Inc. (TWTR) in response to a Wall Street Journal reporter who wrote that "humans are underrated." (See also: Tesla Bear Sees Shares Crashing 72% By 2019.)
"Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated," wrote Musk in a rare apology from the billionare business mogul. The CEO, followed by 21.3 million people on Twitter, is also the leader of companies including SpaceX and the Boring Co. and is known as one of the most influential individuals in the tech world, alongside his "PayPal mafia" peers Peter Thiel and Max Levchin.
Musk echoed the sentiment in his tweet in a recent interview with CBS News' Gayle King, in which he stated, "we had this crazy, complex network of conveyer belts ... And it was not working, so we got rid of that whole thing."
Close Enough to 2,500
Earlier this month, the Palo Alto, California-based electric vehicle pioneer saw its shares spike on its most recently quarterly earnings results. Despite missing targets for the Model 3, Musk promised a "rapid" increase in production this year toward 5,000 vehicles per week by year end. While the firm was targeted to produce 2,500 units of the more budget friendly Model 3 cars per week, the 2,020 that were made by the last seven days of the period was enough to appease the Street. Investors were also pleased to hear that the company does not plan to raise more capital in 2018.
Trading down nearly 3% at $291.60 on Monday, TSLA reflects a 6.1% decline year-to-date (YTD), underperforming the broader S&P 500's near flat return over the same period. Tesla shares have fallen nearly 25% from all-time highs reach in September.
Musk has repeatedly promised that the electric car company will be profitable and cash flow positive by the third quarter, reinforced in a snarky Tweet aimed at The Economist on Friday. "The Economist used to be boring, but smart with a wicked dry wit. Now it’s just boring (sigh). Tesla will be profitable & cash flow+ in Q3 & Q4, so obv no need to raise money," wrote Musk. (See also: Tesla Escalates Feud with Agency Over Fatal Crash.)