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Musk Cites Tesla Bankruptcy Fears, Wants You to Know Something Big

TheStreet logo TheStreet 6/24/2022 Rob Lenihan
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Despite bankruptcy fears, layoffs, and lawsuits, Elon Musk wants people to know about Tesla's recent American-made win.

Elon Musk wants to share some good news.

The Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report CEO has been facing some challenges lately, including layoffs, lawsuits as a result of the layoffs and, according to the world's richest man himself, concerns about bankruptcy.

Musk said the electric vehicle maker faces billions of dollars in losses from its new plants, supply chain problems and covid lockdowns, CNN reported on June 23.

"The past two years have been an absolute nightmare of supply chain interruptions, one thing after another," Musk said, according to CNN, which cited an interview with a Tesla owners group recorded last month and posted recently. "We're not out of it yet. That's overwhelmingly our concern is how do we keep the factories operating so we can pay people and not go bankrupt."

'Gigantic Money Furnaces'

In the same interview, Musk described both the recently-opened Berlin and Austin factories as "gigantic money furnaces." 

Meanwhile, Credit Suisse analyst Dan Levy slashed his price target on Tesla to $1,000 from $1,125 on June 24, while keeping his outperform rating.

Levy said he expects Tesla to see second-quarter deliveries of 242,000, which is below the sell-side consensus of 280,000, and largely driven by the Shanghai covid-19 shutdown.

In addition, the analyst reduced his second-quarters estimate to $1.10 a share from $2.06 a share, below the consensus of $2.08, pointing to the lower deliveries outlook, the associated margin impact, and an expected bitcoin impairment.

Levy said he still remained positive on Tesla, noting that its long-term fundamentals are intact and that the widening supply constraints will likely extend its lead over other car makers in the race to electric vehicles.

Given all this woe, it's hardly surprising that Musk would want more people to know that Tesla--for the second year in a row--earned top honors in the Cars.com 2022 American-Made Index.


Video: Tesla CEO Elon Musk clarifies layoff plans at electric carmaker (CNBC)

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The index is an annual independent ranking of vehicle makes and models creating the greatest impact on the U.S. economy through factory jobs, manufacturing plants, and parts sourcing.

'Hardly Anybody Knows This'

Tesla claimed the honor of most American-made with the Model Y this time out, with last year’s chart-topper, the Model 3, coming in second.

"Hardly anyone knows this," Musk said on Twitter, the microblogging site that he is looking to buy.

Tesla landed two additional mentions in the top 10 with the Model X at No. 5 and Model S at No. 6.

"Someone from $TSLA should send out a press release to all MSM recognizing TSLA’s dominance," Gary Black, a Tesla investor and managing partner of The Future Fund LLC, tweeted. "And follow up with a call to the right person on Biden’s staff to get Biden to champion TSLA, climate sustainability, and buying American. It might (take) one person all of 20 minutes."

But let's not forget that Tokyo-based Honda matched Tesla’s top 10 showing with four of its own models: the Passport placed fourth, and the Ridgeline, Odyssey, and Pilot took the final three spots in the top 10.

Also making top 10 were Ford's  (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report Lincoln Corsair and Stellantis'  (STLA) - Get Stellantis N.V. Report Jeep Cherokee. General Motors'  (GM) - Get General Motors Company Report Chevrolet Corvette came in at Number 11.

'The Real Story'

“The composition of this year’s much-anticipated American-Made Index is particularly interesting in the context of our current marketplace, where high gas prices and scarce inventory meet peak consumer interest in electric vehicles and a heightened demand for American-made products,” Jenni Newman, Cars.com editor-in-chief, said in a statement. 

"That Tesla — an American-made all-electric make — appears frequently and high up on the list may indicate a coming alignment of market forces that could really explode once we break through microchip supply chain issues, especially if gas prices remain historically high," Newman said.

This also bodes well for other original equipment manufacturers, she added, "including Honda, Ford and GM, working to diversify product lines with more EV and hybrid options.”

Going American was the real story in this year's survey, Cars.com said. Forty percent of car shoppers surveyed said that because of the pandemic buying a car built in America is now more important to them, up 22% year-over-year.

'And Who Cares??'

In addition, affordability increased 15% as the most important attribute for car shoppers, and those considering an electric or hybrid vehicle also saw a double-digit bump, up 21% from 2021.  

Social media, as usual, proved to be a source of strong opinions.

"Who on earth would want an American made car," one tweeter asked. "That's why Tesla's have such poor quality control. That's why all the new US made VWs are so poorly made. Being manufactured in the United States is NOT something to brag about."

"My '02 Tacoma, which was built in Ohio and is currently running 264k miles without a problem would like a word," another person responded.

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