Elon Musk 'secret weapon' comments irk Tesla investors. Stock plunges.
Tesla reported a fourth quarter loss of $108 million dollars, which was worse than analysts expected. But CEO Elon Musk was confident as ever, even as his cryptic comments during an earnings call sent Tesla shared into free fall Thursday.
While answering a question about the strength of demand for Tesla's Model S during Tesla's fourth quarter earnings call, Musk said he's not concerned about buyers stepping up this year.
Then he said, "I have a secret weapon on the demand side and might release a good weapon against the dealers."
It sounded as if Musk had a sly grin on his face as he made the comment.
Then again, it could be that we've come to expect answers from Musk that often leave us wondering, "What is he not telling us?"
For example, during the earnings call Musk discussed delivery later this year of the company's next vehicle, the Model X.
While outlining how Tesla designers were "adventurous" in creating the crossover utility vehicle, Musk mentioned the Model X having falcon wing doors, incredible back seats and "some other things about the Model X we haven't shared yet."
It was vintage Musk.
It also shows he has no plans to change the often cryptic comments he makes about upcoming models, business plans or Tesla's future.
After Tesla reported a fourth quarter loss of $108 million dollars, which was worse than analysts expected, Musk did not sound worried. In fact, at one point Musk talked about future of Tesla and the lofty valuation he envisioned for the electric vehicle company. Musk didn't hold back and compared Tesla's potential to Apple.
Analysts are not quite as upbeat, however.
"Tesla missed most of its numbers in Q4," said Karl Brauer senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book. "It was close on vehicle deliveries, but revenue and earnings were off. This puts Elon Musk under greater pressure to deliver in 2015."
As for Musk's "secret weapon" to spur demand or tweak franchised auto dealers, there will be plenty of guesses. As is often the case when Musk makes vague comments about future events, we will likely get only a tidbit or two ahead of the final announcement.
Meanwhile, auto dealers who have been fighting to keep Tesla from selling cars directly can look forward to another salvo from the auto executive who firmly believes he already has "a better way to do business."