We've been missing Elon Musk in the news recently. When Elon isn't sharing his fear of AI taking over the human race, he's losing hair again, worrying about the Model 3's upcoming production deadlines:
Mr. Musk has good reason to worry about Tesla. The auto maker is entering one of the most critical phases in its history, a make-or-break period in which Tesla must boost production of the Model 3 or possibly face severe financial consequences.
In April, Tesla will reveal whether it is on track to meet an ambitious second-quarter target of producing 5,000 Model 3s a week--a goal that it already twice delayed.
Missing or delaying the target again would be strike three: it could deal a killing blow to investor confidence. Given the way the company flies through cash, it is highly likely that Tesla will need to raise more money in the near future. Missing this target might make that, if not impossible, very unlikely.
In the past, Elon has been known for blurring the line between the possible and the impossible. From avoiding bankruptcy under the glare of bearish investors to sending an electric vehicle into space, Elon has been able to live up to his reputation as a true visionary. But we need to remember that Tesla is no longer a just another promising-looking startup that investors are willing to throw money at:
It is a 38,000-person company that is trying to compete with the world's largest auto makers. Mr. Musk has eschewed operating profit and racked up debt as he chases his dream of making a mainstream electric sedan. He had earlier pledged to deliver 500,000 vehicles this year, about five times last year's total.
Do you believe in Elon? Will he live up to his reputation by surprising the pessimists?
What do you think will happen if Tesla misses its production target? Will investors avoid Tesla like the plague when it starts begging for money?
Elon's original production goal of 500,000 vehicles by the end of 2018: