Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged the Silicon Valley-based automaker has hit upon rough times and that putting the company on solid ground could take a Herculean effort.
“I’m definitely under stress,” Musk said in an interview Friday as Tesla wrestles with a series of problems related to production problems on the Model 3. Some of the production problems are due to too much technology being injected into the inexpensive all-electric sedan, he said.
He absorbed some of the blame for reports showcasing Tesla’s inability to hit key deadlines. “I need to figure out how to be better…. And then we can be better at meeting goals,” said Musk, who owns nearly 19 percent of Tesla and is tied into the success or failure of the company.
Tesla will need to raise more money in the near future to meet its cash needs, the credit rating agency claimed. Moody’s labeled the electric car marker a substantial risk for investors willing to dive headfirst into the auto market.
Tesla has not responded to questions about Moody’s downgrade, according to a CNBC report. S&P adjusted the company’s credit down to a negative B rating in April 2017 — it also holds a negative outlook for Tesla going forward.
The electric car company initially planned to produce 5,000 Model 3 sedans a week by the end of 2017, but that number was quickly revised as the inexpensive vehicle’s production began faltering.
Tesla is currently making only around 975 Model 3s a week — well short of the 2,500-unit rate target by the end of this quarter. Concern is growing over the Silicon Valley company’s poor production performance.
It managed to build a mere 260 Model 3s between July and September of 2017. That number is well below the 1,500 Tesla promised before the end of the fourth quarter of said year. Total orders for the wallet-friendly vehicle tumbled from a high of 518,000 to 455,000.
The company’s complex assembly line is one of the primary culprits for the slowdown in production, Musk noted in the CBS interview. “We got complacent about some of the things that we felt were our core technology,” he said. “We put too much new technology into the Model 3 all at once. This — this should have been staged.”
The Model 3 assembly line is heavily reliant on robotics-driven technology– which is part of the problem. “We had this crazy, complex network of conveyor belts…. And it was not working, so we got rid of that whole thing,” Musk said in response to a question about whether robots were slowing down the process.
He also claimed to be working day-in and day-out at Tesla headquarters to iron out the kinks. “When things get really intense, I don’t have time to go home and shower and change, so I just sleep here,” Musk said.