Can Tesla make the transition from niche product to mass-market manufacturer? It’s the pressing question on the minds of investors and analysts, yet CEO Elon Musk did little to quell their concerns on a call in early May. Instead, his petulant tone about “boring, bonehead questions” raised eyebrows and sent stock prices spiraling the next day.
“Musk has been fairly Teflon-coated,” said PVMI director John Paul MacDuffie of the incident, adding that it’s unlikely to produce long-term consequences. But unless Musk can back up his bluster with measurable progress, he may burn through what remains of investors’ goodwill. “Mastering high-volume mass production of a mass-market vehicle is the next big test for Tesla,” said MacDuffie. “This is something they seem to be failing at the moment.”