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‘Absolutely not’ having demand problems

'Absolutely not' having demand problems


‘Absolutely not’ having demand problems


Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday dismissed suggestions that demand for the company’s electric vehicles is flagging.

Musk told investors at the automaker’s annual meeting that “sales have far exceeded production, and production has been pretty good.”

“I want to be clear – there is not a demand problem. Absolutely not,” he said.

His comments came amid swelling concern that the number of consumers willing to pay for its electric cars is drying up. Encouraged investors drove Tesla shares up 5% in after-hours trading to $228. The stock had dipped below $180 briefly last week as worries mounted.

The company lost more than $700 million in the first quarter and then raised money through a stock offering to shore up its financial position.

Musk reiterated previous projections that the company would achieve fully self-driving capability with recently made vehicles in 2020.

“I think it’s basically financially insane to buy anything other than an electric car that’s upgradeable to autonomy,” he said.

He also said the company’s forthcoming Model Y electric crossover would reach “volume production” by fall 2020. 

“Internally we’re aiming for sooner than that but we want to have some margin on that timing,” he said.

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He also said he hopes to reveal the company’s long-teased electric pickup truck sometime this summer.

It will “look like it came out of a sci-fi movie,” he said. “I think it’s the coolest car I’ve seen. Not everyone may share that opinion.”

The vehicle’s towing capacity is “designed to meet or exceed an F-150” from Ford, Musk said. “So if an F-150 can tow it, the Tesla pickup truck should be able to do it.”

As the company ramps up electric vehicle production, one of its biggest challenges is sourcing enough raw material to manufacture battery cells.

“We might get into the mining business. Maybe,” he said. “We’ll do whatever we have to to ensure we can scale at the fastest way possible.”

During the meeting, Musk took questions from the audience on a wide range of issues. He bashed the media for waging a “disinformation campaign” about Tesla’s prospects.

He also hinted at other products to come, including some that aren’t altogether realistic.

“We do actually have a design for a submarine car,” Musk said when asked whether the company had its eyes on an aquatic vehicle.

“I think the market for this will be small,” he added to laughter. “It would be a bit of a distraction. But maybe we’ll make one as a show car at some point.”

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.


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