Published: Fri, February 01, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Tesla CFO leaves as automaker promises profits and cheaper cars

Tesla CFO leaves as automaker promises profits and cheaper cars

"Zach's incredibly talented, has made a huge contribution to Tesla over the years, and obviously very well known to the whole team and has the respect of the whole team", Musk said.

Chief Executive Elon Musk touted strong demand for the Model 3, as the company begins to ship the vehicle to Europe and Asia from its Fremont, California factory.

While the results were a mixed bag, the surprise exit of the longtime finance chief will possibly fire up the "conspiracy theories" around the company, Evercore ISI said. Tesla on Wednesday reported net profit of $139 million for the three months ended in December, its second consecutive quarter in the black.

The departure of Ahuja, the 56-year-old auto industry veteran who joined Tesla in 2008 from Ford Motor Co., was the latest and the most high-profile change inside Tesla's leadership. And per his brief self-introduction on Wednesday's call, he's also been deeply involved in several major projects at Tesla, including the development of the Roadster, Model S and X, the newest Model 3 and Tesla's renewable energy business. "It's not demand. It's how do we get the cars there fast enough".

"Last year was the most pivotal year in Tesla's history".

It may be similar to the Model 3, but Musk said to expect 50 percent higher cost - even double. This is because Model Y will share about 3/4 of the components from the Model 3.

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Tesla said plans to lower the price of the Model 3 were contingent on quickly building its factory in China. Musk gave a "rough guess" that Tesla would begin building its originally promised $35,000 version around the middle of this year.

Moreover, Tesla reckons "the capital spend per unit of capacity for this factory (G3) to be less than half of that of our Model 3 line in Fremont".

The Y is apparently completed, designed out, and shares 75 percent of its build and design with the Model 3, so it should be easier to ramp up, Musk said. Musk also assured investors Tesla will be able to "comfortably" pay off a $920m convertible bonds maturing in March. The bottom line is that Tesla was able to produce and launch nearly a quarter of a million electric cars in 2018.

'Tesla has a fantastic brand, and by all accounts a fantastic product, but we're anxious it's also fantastically expensive. For the quarter, the company posted $7.23 billion in revenue. Deliveries in 2018 amounted to 63,359 vehicles in North America, according to the company. 2019 could prove a make or break year'.

In more concrete terms, Tesla is "expecting to deliver 360,000 to 400,000 vehicles" throughout 2019.

Furthermore, "Tesla is now starting to put together the tooling that will allow for production of the Model Y".

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