Musk says Tesla is about to have the 'most amazing quarter' in its history — here's what his employees think

Joshua Lott / Getty ImagesElon Musk

  • In what has been a pressure-filled year for Tesla, the company’s third-quarter performance might be its most important test in 2018.
  • On Friday, CEO Elon Musk said in an email to employees that was posted on Tesla’s website that the third quarter will be the “most amazing quarter in our history.”
  • One former and two current Tesla employees shared diverging opinions to Business Insider on whether the company will fulfil Musk’s lofty vision for the quarter.

In what has been a pressure-filled year for Tesla, the company’s third-quarter performance might be its most important test in 2018.

The company has said that it expects to become consistently profitable beginning in the third quarter and, on Friday, CEO Elon Musk said in an email to employees that was posted on Tesla’s website that the third quarter will be the “most amazing quarter in our history.” He said in the email that Tesla will build and deliver over double the amount of cars it did in the second quarter, when it built 53,339 and delivered 40,740.

The email came at the end of a week in which the departures of three executives continued the company’s high turnover rate among senior employees, and it follows questions about the company’s financial health and Musk’s decision-making that have persisted for months. A profitable quarter and massive increase in production could re-focus the Tesla narrative around the company’s rapid production growth and improving financial prospects. But failing to meet those goals may only increase doubts about the company’s long-term potential.

Two current Tesla employees who work in vehicle production at the Fremont factory where the company makes its cars and one former employee who worked at the Fremont factory before leaving the company in August shared diverging opinions with Business Insider on whether the company will fulfil Musk’s lofty vision for the third quarter. The former and current employees requested anonymity due to a fear of reprisal from Tesla.

The former employee said Musk’s prediction that production and deliveries will more than double was realistic and one current employee said Musk’s optimism was reflected among the employee’s colleagues.

“I absolutely believe it’s possible,” the current employee said of Musk’s prediction. “There’s a positive attitude, at least where I work, to get the numbers up.”

But another current employee said Musk was getting ahead of himself.

“That’s laughable,” the employee said of Musk’s prediction. “Whatever goal he’s predicting, probably cut that number in half.

“[The Fremont factory] is a dumpster fire! And when he gets on social media or whatever platform he uses he makes everything worse.”

Which sentiment comes closer to matching the reality of Tesla’s third-quarter performance will go a long way toward determining whether 2018 is viewed as a triumph over adversity or the result of hubris and poor decision-making.

Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at [email protected].

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