Just a comment of Elon Musk is causing the entire electric car industry to move, no one has yet understood what is happening.
CNN reported that six months ago, Elon Musk said he would stop attending earnings meetings with investors unless there was “something important” he needed to say. However, that plan seems to have changed.
After not attending Tesla’s third-quarter meeting, Musk returned to the fourth-quarter earnings call this Wednesday to discuss Tesla’s quarterly profit and record revenue. But, his comments at this week’s meeting shocked and even panicked investors despite Tesla’s overwhelmingly successful financial results.
Tesla stock had its worst day in months on Thursday, falling 11.6% and dragging other electric vehicle (EV) company shares down as well.
Musk focused his comments on supply chain issues that had hurt Tesla far less than other automakers. Although Musk said Tesla was on path to be “comfortably above 50% growth in 2022,” and that the chip shortage is “better than last year,” he also noted the supply chain problem is “still an issue that could slow the rollout of new vehicles that had been expected as soon as this year.
He said plans for the Cybertruck, Tesla’s first pickup truck, will be pushed back to at least 2023. A new Roadster and a new pickup are in a similar situation. Musk said he expects Tesla to be “ready to bring those to production hopefully next year. That is most likely.”
“The humanoid robot is the most important product that Tesla is developing this year” – Elon Musk
Obviously, that’s not what Tesla investors want to hear – especially as the competition heats up. Emerging EV truck maker Rivian is building and selling its electric pickup truck.
Recently, they even won the title of “Trendy Truck” of the year. Ford is expected to begin production of the F-150 Lightning EV in the spring and plans to produce 80,000 trucks a year to accommodate a large influx of pre-orders. General Motors this week announced that it will begin producing EV versions of its Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks in 2024.
Some Wall Street analysts expressed disappointment at Musk’s comments during the meeting.
“There was no reason that he needed to double down and shout ‘supply chain’ into a crowded theater,” said Dan Ives, tech analyst at Wedbush Securities. “He gave the bears meat on the bones. That’s why the stock sold off. I’m convinced if Musk was not on the call, the stock probably would have been up on Thursday.”
Notably, though, none of Musk’s comments directly addressed the situation at other electric vehicle companies. But all pure EV stocks fell sharply on Thursday. Rivian fell 10.5% while shares of Lucid fell 14.1% and Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio, whose shares are listed in the US, also fell 6.8%.
Ives said Musk’s comments raised concerns that if a major electric-vehicle maker like Tesla is having problems, its smaller emerging rivals could have even worse problems.
Tesla shares are down 21% this year through the end of Thursday, and the company’s market capitalization has also fallen below the $1 trillion mark — the benchmark it hit late last year.
Even with Friday’s continued sell-off, though, Tesla stock is still worth more than the market value of the world’s 10 largest automakers combined. That means Tesla has a valuation that many consider unsustainable, making it vulnerable to a sell-off like yesterday’s hash.
“Investors wanted confidence from Musk,” Ives said. “Instead they got him talking about supply chain and robots.”
Accordingly, also in the meeting, Musk shocked when he said that a “humanoid robot” is the “most important product” that Tesla is developing this year, more important than the Cybertruck and other car lines, including both Semi and Roadster.
“I think robotics has the potential to be more important than the electric vehicle business over time,” Musk said of the robot, called Optimus.
While Tesla robotics may be years away or even never a reality, on Wednesday, Musk said the field has the potential to revolutionize the economy if it can carry out its tasks. services that can now only be performed by humans.
“The foundation of the economy is labor,” Musk said Wednesday. “So what happens if you don’t actually have a labor shortage? I’m not sure what an economy even means at that point. That’s what Optimus is about.”
According to CNN, Musk’s comments during the meeting were in stark contrast to Apple CEO Tim Cook at a similar event on Thursday.
Cook also had very good Q4 results to report, and like all manufacturing companies on the planet, Apple is also addressing supply issues. But Cook assured investors they were fine with the hit, and Apple stock edged higher in Friday morning trading.