Tesla Inc. recently reported its lowest gross margins in over three years, attributing the decrease to reduced prices on its electric vehicles and investments in a new factory. However, CEO Elon Musk urges investors to consider the bigger picture.
During a call with investors and analysts, Musk acknowledged the short-term variability in gross margin and profitability but emphasized the significance of focusing on the long-term. According to him, the true game-changer lies in Tesla’s Full-Self Driving technology.
Musk envisions a future where Tesla vehicles equipped with Full-Self Driving become robotaxis, transforming them into appreciating assets that owners can rent out similar to Airbnbs. While critics may recall Musk’s 2019 prediction of having 1 million robo-taxis on the road by 2020 (that didn’t come to fruition), he acknowledges his past mistakes and acknowledges the potential for error this time as well.
Notably, regulators are currently examining whether Tesla’s Full Self-Driving and Autopilot features overstate their capabilities.
Despite the dip in gross margins, Elon Musk’s unwavering faith in Tesla’s autonomous technology provides a silver lining. With a focus on the future, it becomes clear that short-term fluctuations shouldn’t overshadow the potential for long-term success.
The Challenges of Fully Self-Driving Cars
Fully self-driving cars have become a topic of great interest and excitement, with many companies testing their autonomous vehicles, such as Alphabet’s Waymo and General Motors Co.’s Cruise, in San Francisco. However, the road to full autonomy is not without its challenges and controversies.
Concerns and Upheaval
In San Francisco, the deployment of these autonomous vehicles has caused uproar among citizens and city officials. Various problems have been reported, including instances of cars stopping randomly in traffic, blocking emergency vehicles, and even crashing into public transit. These incidents have sparked concerns about the safety and reliability of self-driving technology.
An Eye on Margins
Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, recently addressed another significant aspect of self-driving cars – their impact on margins. He stated that, at present, it makes sense for Tesla to prioritize quantity over profit margins. By producing more vehicles, they believe that the overall value of their autonomous fleet will eventually experience a substantial increase.
Musk went on to say that the point at which regulators approve Tesla’s Full Self-Driving software will mark a monumental shift in asset value. He boldly claimed that this event could potentially be the most significant step change in asset value in history.
The Promise of Value Retention
One advantage often associated with autonomous vehicles is their potential to retain value better than traditional gasoline-powered cars. While most vehicles depreciate rapidly as soon as they are driven off the lot, Teslas have been shown to hold their value at a slower rate. This economic benefit is highly appealing to consumers.
The Road Ahead: Collaboration and Licensing
In an unexpected move, Musk mentioned Tesla’s willingness to license their Full Self-Driving (FSD) software to other car manufacturers during a recent company call. In fact, he revealed that early discussions are underway with a major original equipment manufacturer (OEM) regarding the use of Tesla’s FSD technology. This collaborative approach could pave the way for advancements in self-driving capabilities across the industry.
While the prospect of a fully self-driving car that does not depreciate immediately may seem like a distant dream, it remains an enticing possibility for the future of transportation. However, challenges must still be overcome, and regulatory approval is essential before widespread adoption can take place.
Elon Musk: A Visionary Beyond Car Salesmanship
Tesla executives have recently expressed concerns regarding the prevailing macroeconomic uncertainty. This cautious sentiment has translated into a nearly 5% drop in Tesla shares during extended trading on Wednesday. The absence of specific guidance on margin improvement timelines has led investors to scrutinize the actual reported numbers, overshadowing the optimistic vision of Elon Musk, the esteemed entrepreneur who is often hailed as the world’s most renowned car salesman.