Just a bump in the road?

Financial Mail - - DIAMONDS & DOGS -

It’s not im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine a cer­tain amount of Teu­tonic chuck­ling in the strate­gic plan­ning bunkers of Stuttgart, Mu­nich and Wolfs­burg. When Tesla an­nounced its tar­gets for the pro­duc­tion ramp-up of the Model 3, Ger­manic eye­brows were raised in quizzi­cal fash­ion. Now that Tesla’s third-quar­ter re­sults have shown that the com­pany missed its pro­duc­tion tar­gets by a coun­try mile and has plunged to its big­gest-ever quar­terly loss, it may be hard to re­sist sug­gest­ing that, “for you, Herr Musk, the war is over.”

How­ever, it is far too early to write off Tesla CEO Elon Musk, as he has a long track record of set­ting tar­gets that ev­ery­body con­sid­ers ut­terly bonkers.

He might not hit them first time off, but he lights the blue touch pa­per un­der his teams and they make progress at a rate no­body else gets any­where near.

Pro­duc­tion bot­tle­necks are hardly un­ex­pected, given the un­prece­dented am­bi­tion of Tesla’s race to mass pro­duc­tion, but the dan­ger is that the 500,000 cus­tomers who have put a US$1,000 de­posit on a Model 3 may lose pa­tience with the de­lays and take their busi­ness else­where.

They may also be rat­tled by news that Repub­li­cans in congress are plan­ning an im­me­di­ate re­peal of a $7,500 fed­eral tax credit for elec­tric ve­hi­cles, which will make a chunky dif­fer­ence to a $30,000 pur­chase.

This as­ton­ish­ingly ret­ro­grade step harks back to an Amer­ica where the dream was a huge V12 car with the aero­dy­namic pro­file of a brick rather than the dan­ger­ously lib­eral, pos­si­bly even Scan­di­na­vian, ap­peal of the ecofriendly, hy­per­mod­ern Tesla.

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