Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
- Tesla has a history of proving its doubters wrong, but over the last few months, the automaker has faced a number of challenges.
- From missed production targets to questions about its financial health, Tesla may be at an inflection point.
- Whether Tesla can overcome recent challenges could determine whether 2018 sets the stage for another improbable triumph or raises serious questions about the company's future.
Tesla has a history of beating the odds.
CEO Elon Musk has said he believed the company had around a 10% chance of success when it was founded in 2003. Since then, the company has won awards for its vehicles, built an enthusiastic fanbase, and watched its market capitalization approach and temporarily top those of General Motors, Ford, and Fiat-Chrysler.
Part of the company's success can be attributed to Musk's rare gift for storytelling. Since taking over as the company's chief executive in 2008, he's outlined a vision for the company that extends beyond selling cars to transforming global energy grids. Investors have bought that story, which is why the company has been able to raise money without much difficulty despite posting consistent deficits.
But that story has taken a hit in recent months as the company has faced concerns over its finances, ability to build cars at scale, and public comments attributed to Musk and Tesla. Now, the company is at an inflection point. Elon Musk says the company will be profitable by the end of the third quarter and won't have to raise money for the rest of the year. Some analysts and investors disagree with him.
Whether Musk lives up to his assertion could determine whether 2018 sets the stage for another improbable triumph or raises serious questions about the company's future.
Here are the incidents that have led to Tesla's latest moment of reckoning.
- Tesla may have revealed part of the Model Y in a video
- The NTSB is investigating a Tesla Model S crash that killed two teens after the car's battery caught fire
- Elon Musk says the Model S and Model X will soon get a long-awaited feature that the Model 3 already has