Elon Musk is a superhero to many. He builds fast cars, and makes rockets. Throughout 2018 though, he made some mistakes. But that isn't what this story is about. This is about Musk's incredible idea and unreal work ethic that turned the entire business around.
If you live in the states, or anywhere, quite frankly, you've no doubt heard of Tesla having a rugged summer. Every channel had stock experts discussing when Tesla would go bankrupt. Not if, but when. Everybody was certain that Tesla was burning through cash too quickly to be successful. Musk himself admitted this, saying that he was losing $65 Million a week throughout 2018. The Model 3 was supposed to be Tesla's big hit, but they couldn't build them fast enough. People with orders on the Model 3 were getting frustrated, and many were even cancelling their orders. Without Model 3 sales, Tesla was running out of money. And fast.
Musk had to act quick. In order to keep the factory in line, Musk didn't leave. He constantly was overseeing the production line. According to a 60 minutes interview, he slept in one of two places: on the factory floor, or on a couch which is in the factory. Not that he slept on either too often, as he was working a 120 hour week, and slept an estimated average of 4.5 hours a night. Musk skipped his birthday, and only carved out a few hours for his brother's wedding -just enough for the ceremony. "There were times when I didn't leave the factory for three or four days..." Musk said. Now, you may think Musk was referring to not going home for three or four days, but you'd be wrong. He was talking about not going outside for three days. This is when Musk did things that were questionable.
For starters, Musk accused the cave diver who helped rescue a boys’ soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand of being a pedophile. Not recommended. As sleep deprivation got to him, he kept tweeting, and the one tweet that made everybody turn their focus to Tesla was perhaps the most detrimental. Musk tweeted this.
This affected the market significantly, with Tesla's stock going through the roof. That is, until people realized that Musk was bluffing. As if it was a game of poker, the SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) called his bluff. The Tesla stock plummeted, and many were questioning if he was even cut out for the job. Following the investigation by the SEC, Musk stepped down as chairman, but was able to retain the CEO title.
Perhaps it was this recklessness, this sleep-deprivation, that gave Musk his hair-brained, yet brilliant idea.
He put up a tent in the Tesla parking lot.
Production numbers flew through the roof. Roughly 5,000 Model 3's were being made per week, beating Musk's original goal. Now, that number has soared even higher, currently at an estimated 6,147.
According to CNBC, Tesla made more model 3's in 2018 than total cars in every year since 2003. Combined. Possibly even more shocking is the raw figures. In the fourth quarter of 2018, Tesla sold 63,000 Model 3's. This makes the Tesla Model 3 the number one selling luxury car in the U.S this past year. And Tesla hasn't even slowed down. Bloomberg estimates that Tesla made 79,000 cars in the first quarter of the new year. Tesla has more than doubled the amount of Model 3's made since the start of last year. And across the pond, things aren't terribly different. Upon landing on European soil, the Model 3 outsold all of its competitors from brands like BMW and Mercedes. In the Netherlands, the Tesla Model 3 was the best selling car, and because of this surge, Norway's (yes, that was intended to say Norway, it wasn't a mistake) percentage of internal combustion to electric cars was at a record high of 58%, heavily favoring the electric car. All the way across the world, the Model 3 sold a seemingly modest 752 deliveries in March, but that is in the tiny Australian market, so it is -once again- record breaking. Finally, in Sweden, Tesla has delivered 1,000 Model 3's, despite Tesla's past problems with delivery in the Scandinavian country. These are all mind blowing figures, but they only scratch the surface of the reported 15,000 Model 3 orders in Europe.
Unbelievable success, all thanks to the 'incapable', and 'reckless' Elon Musk.
The media wouldn't stop calling Musk crazy. They called him a cash burning maniac, and while he definitely was blowing through money, and he made many mistakes, I call him ambitious.
And since when is that a bad thing?