The CEO, who moves markets with his utterances on social media, tweeted that he would be attending the electric car maker's next earnings call in late January. His tweet was in response to a question about Cybertruck updates. Referring to 2021 as a "supply chain nightmare," Musk said that he would provide an "updated product roadmap" on the next earnings call.
- Tesla CEO Elon Musk may attend the company's next earnings call, he announced in a tweet.
- Musk had said back in July that he would not be attending future earnings calls unless he had "something really important" to say.
- Some have speculated that Musk's announcement could mean good news for Tesla delivery numbers in the fourth quarter.
Like other car makers, Tesla's production line has been hit by several bottlenecks, from chip shortages to high costs and unavailability of raw materials for manufacturing. While the company has been able to navigate the shortages better as compared to other car makers, it is still behind schedule on its several new product deliveries. The cybertruck release was planned for late 2021 but has postponed to 2022. Deliveries of the second generation of the Tesla Roadster, which created waves when its first version was launched in 2008, have postponed to 2023.
Good News for Tesla Bulls?
But Musk's appearance on an earnings call could be harbinger of good news from the company in the form of record deliveries for the fourth quarter of 2021, according to some. Or, it could also dovetail into the announcement of an affordable $25,000 model—a long sought-after dream for Musk. Both pieces of news could significantly move the needle for Tesla's stock, which has already geared up to full throttle during the pandemic.
Given the car company's performance in the past year, analyst projections for the electric car maker's deliveries in the fourth quarter are upbeat. For example, even noted Tesla bear Gordon Johnson has forecast 280,000 deliveries—a record number and above the general consensus estimate of roughly 260,000. The company's Gigafactory at Shanghai has become an export hub for vehicles shipping to Europe. However, the discovery of a new COVID variant coupled with persistent supply chain issues and delayed transit times could still play spoilsport to Tesla's plans.
Costs, Not Numbers, of Deliveries
A hint of what's to come may have been provided by Musk's email to employees last week asking them to focus on reducing the cost of deliveries rather than focusing on expediting them to meet quarterly goals. "What has happened historically is that we sprint like crazy at end of quarter to maximize deliveries, but then deliveries drop massively in the first few weeks of the next quarter," he wrote. "In effect, looked at over a six-month period, we won't have delivered any extra cars but we will have spent a lot of money and burned ourselves out to accelerate deliveries in the last two weeks of each quarter."
Musk said that the company still faced a "big wave" of deliveries in the last week of December. Most of those deliveries will be made from the company's China plant since its new factories in Berlin and Austin do not have high volume production yet. According to Musk, this " … means a lot of cars on boats from China to Europe and on trucks [and/or] rail from California to the Each Coast arriving late in the quarter, but this is nonetheless the right time to start reducing the size of the wave in favor of a steadier and more efficient pace of deliveries."