Tesla did not mention these plans in its July 2 production and deliveries statement. The automaker offered an upbeat line — it made more vehicles in June than any month in its history — while disclosing 254,695 deliveries for the quarter, short of analysts’ estimates.
The “relative weakness” of the quarter was expected, Philippe Houchois, a Jefferies analyst, said in a July 3 note.
He wrote that CEO Elon Musk’s comments referring to the company’s new plants as “money furnaces” suggest Tesla’s free cash flow may have been affected by significant working capital disruptions.
The biggest blow to Tesla’s performance last quarter came from Shanghai’s weeks-long lockdown in response to a COVID outbreak. The company went to extraordinary lengths to reopen its factory there and keep it running, with thousands of workers sleeping on site to maintain partial production.
Whereas Shanghai is Tesla’s most productive plant, its factories in Germany and Austin, Texas, are only just getting going.
Musk staged an opening party at the former on March 22 and at the latter on April 7.
While those were jovial affairs — Musk danced in Germany and donned a cowboy hat and shades in Texas — the CEO sounded much more subdued a few weeks later.
“Berlin and Austin are losing billions of dollars right now because there is a ton of expense and hardly any output,” Musk told the Tesla Owners of Silicon Valley on May 31. “Getting Berlin and Austin functional and getting Shanghai back in the saddle fully are overwhelmingly our concern.”
The Shanghai shutdown and struggles ramping up new plants contributed to Tesla shares plunging 38 percent in the three months that ended in June, a record quarterly drop.
Tesla scheduled its quarterly earnings report for July 20.
Bloomberg contributed to this report