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Tesla risks being overtaken by the competition

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Nuno Couto Posted: 13 Nov 2017 11:28

https://medium.com/financial-times/tesla-risks-being-overtaken-by-the-competition-9f8986780c

 

This was supposed to be Tesla’s moment of triumph. The California electric car company had confidently predicted it would be pumping out 5,000 of its mass market Model 3 vehicles each week by the end of 2017. That volume would allow it to move out of its high-end niche and compete head to head with traditional automakers.

Instead, Tesla has been beset by a series of production snags — some workers are having to build battery packs by hand, parts have been delayed because of late design changes, and production lines are frequently halted for quality inspections. As a result, it was only able to produce 260 Model 3 vehicles in the third quarter, and has pushed back its 5,000 car per week goal to the end of March. The company also reported a bigger than expected third-quarter loss.

Tesla insists that these are merely teething problems as it remakes car manufacturing from the ground up. “There are no fundamental issues with Model 3 production or its supply chain, and we are confident in addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term,” a spokesman said.

The company proudly noted that some of its manufacturing lines — including the seat assembly and paint shop — have “demonstrated a manufacturing ability” to handle 1,000 cars a week, and others have demonstrated “burst builds of about 500 a week”.

That still puts its factories in California and Nevada a long way from 5,000 cars a week. Although deliveries of the high end Model S and X are up, the company recently removed references to scheduling test drives from its Model 3 information page. That suggests that it will be a long time before ordinary drivers get anywhere near a Tesla electric car.

Tesla counters that focusing on production numbers misses the point because it is more than “just” a carmaker. As outlined in founder Elon Musk’s “Master Plan, Part Deux” last year, Tesla is seeking to create a “sustainable energy economy” by supplying solar panels, home energy storage and fully autonomous electric cars and trucks.

Some investors are sceptical. Tesla’s share price is down more than 20 per cent since mid-September, and it is the most shorted US stock by dollar volume, according to figures from analyst S3 Partners. Investors who believe the share price will fall have placed bets worth $8.2bn. That is equivalent to 16 per cent of shares outstanding, according to Bloomberg data. (To be fair, this is down from 27 per cent in March 2016.)

The doubts are well founded. As of last month, the total number of Tesla vehicles ever produced reached 250,000. Volkswagen and Toyota each make that number every 10 days. The traditional carmakers have decades of experience that give them real advantages in building efficient production lines and managing long supply chains.

While Tesla has been grabbing all the headlines, General Motors has been quietly building mass market electric cars. In the 10 months to October 31, it has delivered 17,083 of its brand new Chevrolet Bolt fully electric vehicles and another 16,710 Volt plug-in hybrids. It also promised that it would produce at least 20 new electric models by 2023.

The market is listening. GM shares are up 30 per cent in the past 12 months, and it has reclaimed its crown as the most valuable US car group, after briefly losing it to Tesla. GM is gaining market share in conventional cars and many investors believe that it is better positioned than many peers to survive the coming shift to electric and driverless vehicles. Not only does GM have the Bolt, it also put $500m into ride-hailing company Lyft in early 2016.

Former GM vice-chairman Bob Lutz recently made waves by predicting the “end of the automotive era” by which he means that individuals will cease to own and drive cars. He predicts that power will shift to fleet owners — including the ride-hailing apps — and tech groups such as Uber and Waymo, Google’s self-driving car division.

Even if he is right, there will still be a need for reliable, well-made vehicles, and somebody is going to build them. And the traditional automakers have long and proven track records.

Mr Musk may yet be able to pull a technological rabbit out of his hat, much as Henry Ford revolutionised manufacturing by installing the first assembly line in 1913. But until he does, investors would be wise to remember that managing mass production and long supply chains is not an easy task. Failures can be costly — and deadly.

Tesla was brilliant at building buzz about electric cars. But it may not be the one to profit when its efforts bear fruit.


Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017

 

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A Tesla começou a produzir carros para um nicho muito restrito do mercado, e todo o seu processo produtivo parece, ainda, depender de muita intervenção humana. Com o lançamento de outros modelos e a crescente procura, o processo de produção terá que ser mais mecanizado. Penso que a Tesla resolverá parte dos seus problemas quando for capaz de construir uma linha de produção mecanizada, à semelhança das marcas tradicionais, que assegure a produção de carros em número suficiente. A Tesla não pode querer vender como a Toyota produzindo como a Rolls Royce.

Se o Model 3 não arrancar a sério, tenho muitas dúvidas sobre o futuro da Tesla daqui a meia dúzia de anos. Seria catastrófico para o "mundo" EV.

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Eu acho que mesmo em menor quantidade que o desejado, o Model3 pode significar muito para o mundo EV, mas o preço unitário pode ficar um fardo enorme, mais do que o "inferno da produção"...

Oxalá resolvam os problemas de qualidade que estas pressas exigem, mais do que a quantidade.

Branca de Neve 30% são minha autoria...

Planeta: CO2

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Telmo Salgado:
Oxalá resolvam os problemas de qualidade que estas pressas exigem, mais do que a quantidade.

Atendendo aos enormes prejuízos que a Tesla acumula, terá MESMO que produzir em quantidade e qualidade. Não vejo outra forma... O Model 3 tem que arrancar e o quanto antes!

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Carlos Costa:

Telmo Salgado:
Oxalá resolvam os problemas de qualidade que estas pressas exigem, mais do que a quantidade.

Atendendo aos enormes prejuízos que a Tesla acumula, terá MESMO que produzir em quantidade e qualidade. Não vejo outra forma... O Model 3 tem que arrancar e o quanto antes!

Carlos Costa,

Tens toda a razão ...a Tesla tem arrancar o mais rapido possivel ...se nao vai chegar tarde ao mercado.

 

 

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Luis Neves replied on 13 Nov 2017 20:23

Uns meses de atraso não é bom, mas não é crítico, até porque o avanço para todos os outros é muito grande.

Agora se não resolvem os problemas de produção até ao primeiro semestre do próximo ano a coisa pode ficar preta - os mercados são muito generosos com perspetivas, mas podem ser impiedosos com os insucessos.

Seria pena porque se não for a Tesla a puxar pelos fabricantes do paleolítico, vamos levar muito tempo a deixar a idade da pedra... 

 

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https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/tesla-is-going-out-of-business-says-former-gm-exec-bob-lutz/ar-BBF6tAR?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=ientp2

Bob Lutz, sempre com uma visão brilhante sobre as questões técnicas que ele tanto domina!

 

Vejamos Lutz defendendo a GM onde trabalhou e o "seu" Volt que haveria de vir, mas questionando o aquecimento global e os híbridos:

https://www.dmagazine.com/frontburner/2008/01/gms-lutz-on-hybrids-global-warming-and-cars-as-art/

 

 

Branca de Neve 30% são minha autoria...

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Carlos Costa:

Atendendo aos enormes prejuízos que a Tesla acumula, terá MESMO que produzir em quantidade e qualidade. Não vejo outra forma... O Model 3 tem que arrancar e o quanto antes!

ISTO!

ASAP!

 

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