Tesla 2022 shareholders asked CEO Elon Musk about the company’s long-term financial plan and his outlook for global economics at Thursday’s shareholders meeting.
“Macroeconomic forecasting is a recipe for disaster,” Musk joked, but believes that “peak inflation is over” and that we’ll see a “relatively mild recession,” lasting about 18 months.
The CEO is using commodity prices to justify his economic analysis on Tesla and electric vehicles.
“We do get a fair bit of insight into where prices of things are going over time because when you’re making millions of cars, you have to purchase commodities many months in advance of when they’re needed,” he said.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the continuing Covid pandemic in China affected Tesla’s Shanghai factory during the second quarter of 2022. They exacerbated supply chain problems, parts shortages and labor problems for the auto industry in general.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk was also asked how it plans to use its capital in the future. Tesla will be increasing its capital expenditures and R&D spending “as fast as we can do so without wasting it.” He added that “a sort of share buyback is possible,” depending on what Tesla’s future cash flow looks like.
Musk, who is also the CEO of SpaceX, said he “wouldn’t want to commit” to Tesla share buybacks just yet, and that a force majeure event somewhere could change the equation. However, he reiterated that if Tesla’s future cashflow is sound and the world is peaceful, a share buyback is an option.
By 2030, about 12 factories will produce 20 million cars annually
Tesla aims to produce 20 million vehicles annually by 2030, a lofty ambition. Musk said he thinks this will take approximately a dozen factories, each producing 1.5 million to 2 million vehicles per year.
Tesla operates assembly plants in Shanghai and Fremont, California. Austin, Texas; Berlin, Germany. A factory in Sparks, Nevada, that Panasonic and it jointly operate, produces batteries as well.
Tesla recently released its 3 millionth car, according to CEO Elon Musk, and he says a new factory location will be announced in the near future.
In other words, of the many battery packs they’re able to salvage from retired cars, they’re only recycling 50 of them per week. The majority of the Tesla battery packs in their products today, he says, will likely last them into the foreseeable future.
Additionally, the celebrity CEO reiterated promises he has made in the past, including that Tesla is close to providing a self-driving vehicle capable of operating without a driver.
He won over shareholders by soliciting their input on where to set up Tesla’s next factory and by telling the room seemingly full of retail investors that they understood the company better than finance professionals on Wall Street analyst.
He also broke some sad news to shareholders, reiterating that Tesla is working to produce the Cybertruck by mid-2023, but that the company cannot offer the truck with the same specifications and pricing it had at the time of its announcement in 2019.
Higher inflation is the only explanation for why he wasn’t able to anticipate such a sudden increase in the Cybertruck’s price. Tesla’s location for installing equipment is about to change and should take about the next few months.
Three million job applications
At the meeting, Musk boasted that his companies Tesla and SpaceX are two of the places where engineering students want to work today. Tesla received 3 million job applications last year, he said. Referring to his two businesses, he also revealed, We do allow people to move from one company to the other if they would like. Cool, we like that.
People who attended the in-person meeting were selected through a random drawing, and people who didn’t can tune in to the video livestream online. The live audience jeered shareholders who presented proposals that Tesla’s board did not agree should be passed.
One shareholder took the mic during a question-and-answer session, gave up his chance to ask Elon Musk a question, instead bashed the media for its treatment of Musk and thanked the CEO for “making the world a better place.” He also greeted his six-year-old who, he says, is back home, watching this event. He received a standing ovation.
Gary Black, Tesla bull and managing partner of The Future Fund, asked Musk if he would ever give up his role as CEO of Tesla. With so many good people working for Tesla, Musk figured Tesla would do just fine, even if he were “abducted by aliens”.
Later, he added, “I’m not leaving to be clear.”