Elon Musk predicts 18-month mild recession, teases buyback stocks

Tesla CEO Elon Musk gestures while visiting Tesla’s Gigafactory construction site in Gruenheide near Berlin, Germany, August 13, 2021.

Patrick Pleul | Reuters

In Tesla 2022 AGM on Thursday, investors ask CEO Elon Musk How the company plans to spend its money in the coming years and about its global economic outlook.

Musk joked that “given macroeconomic projections is a recipe for disaster” but nonetheless estimated that “we’re past the peak of inflation” and is likely to see a “relatively mild recession”, lasting about 18 months.

The CEO bases his economic analysis on the commodity prices Tesla is being asked to pay for the materials and goods it needs to make electric vehicles.

“We get a little bit of insight into the price of things over time because when you make millions of cars, you have to buy goods months in advance when they are needed,” he said.

inside second quarter of 2022Russia’s war with Ukraine and the ongoing Covid pandemic in China have hampered Tesla’s Shanghai factory, while exacerbating supply chain troubles, parts shortages and problems. workers in the auto industry.

Musk was also asked about Tesla’s plans to use capital in the coming years. The CEO said Tesla will primarily increase capital spending and research and development spending “as quickly as possible without waste.” He added that “share buybacks are possible,” depending on how Tesla’s future cash flows are,

Musk, who is also the CEO of SpaceX, said he “doesn’t want to commit” to buying back Tesla stock and that a force majeure event somewhere could change the equation. However, he reiterated that if Tesla’s future cash flow looks solid and the world is “relatively stable,” a “share buyback will be on the cards.”

20 million cars per year at about 12 factories by 2030

Overall, Tesla aims to produce 20 million vehicles a year by 2030, a lofty goal, and Musk said he thinks that number will require about a dozen factories, with each producing 1.5 million to 2 million units per year.

Currently Tesla operates vehicle assembly plants in Shanghai; Fremont, California; Austin, Texas; and outside Berlin in Germany. It also manufactures batteries at a plant in Sparks, Nevada, which it co-operates with Panasonic.

On Thursday, Musk said Tesla recently produced its 3 millionth vehicle and hopes to announce a new factory location later this year.

At the same time, the company only recycles 50 vehicle battery packs per week in Nevada, Musk revealed on Thursday, explaining that the number is too low because most of the battery packs from Tesla vehicles are still in the used vehicles. nowadays.

During the shareholder meeting, the famous CEO also repeated the promises he has made in the past, including that Tesla is fulfilling its goal of “solving the problem of autonomy” and providing a self-driving vehicle capable of driving. function as a robotaxi without any driver behind the wheel.

He pleased shareholders by seeking their opinion on where to place Tesla’s next factory (many shouted “Canada”) and by telling an auditorium that seemed to be full of investors to sell. odd that they know the company better than financial professionals, including Wall Street analysts.

But he also divulged some disappointing news to shareholders, reiterating that Tesla is aiming to produce the Cybertruck by mid-2023 but won’t be able to sell it with the same specs and price as the original. when the company unveiled its test pickup truck in 2019.

Regarding the Cybertruck’s higher predicted price, Musk said, “I think there’s no way to predict the level of inflation we’ve seen.” Tesla will “install production equipment, tooling and all, beginning in the next few months” at the plant in Austin, Texas, where the shareholder meeting is taking place on Thursday.

Musk boasted during the meeting that Tesla and his reusable rocket company SpaceX are two of the places engineering students want to work most right now. Tesla received 3 million job applications last year, he said. He also revealed, “We allow people to switch from one company to another if they want to,” referring to his two businesses. “It’s great, we support that.”

Audience members at the live meeting are selected via random draw, while other shareholders watch the video stream. Attendees of the live event delivered harsh taunts to shareholders, who presented proposals that Tesla’s board disagreed they should pass.

One shareholder took up the mic during the Q&A session, giving up his right to question Elon Musk and instead criticizing the media for Musk’s treatment and thanking the CEO for “making the world a better place”. than.” The shareholder also sends greetings to his 6-year-old son at home, who he says is watching business events in his hometown. He received a standing ovation.

Tesla Chairman and Future Fund managing partner, Gary Black, asked Musk if he might leave his role as CEO at Tesla. Musk told all the great people in his organization he thought Tesla would do well even if he was “abducted by aliens”.

Then he insisted, “I’m not leaving to be clear.”

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