Jul 07, 2016

    Tesla hits another pothole with fewer cars rolled out


    TESLA Motors' goal of shaking up the auto industry has hit a fresh speed bump as disappointing car production suggests a longer wait before it reaches profitability.

    Already facing questions over a fatal crash involving its self-driving system and a controversial proposed merger with ailing solar-power firm SolarCity, Tesla has now slashed its 2016 delivery targets after second-quarter output lagged behind expectations.

    Tesla delivered just 14,370 vehicles in the second quarter, below the 17,000 originally forecast, according to figures released over the weekend.

    It trimmed its full-year delivery forecast to 79,000 from 80,000 to 90,000.

    The revision further clouds the record of Tesla and founder Elon Musk, who has vowed to remake America's roads by mainstreaming the electric cars.

    Earlier this year, he announced a goal of producing 500,000 electric cars a year by 2018, which would take it from being a niche producer of luxury sedans to a mainstream competitor in the auto industry.

    "While we are modestly disappointed by the number, we are not shocked," said Deutsche Bank which had projected that Tesla would generate a modest profit this year. It now sees another loss following the disappointing deliveries.

    The weak figures come on the heels of news last week that United States regulators opened a preliminary investigation into Tesla's Autopilot self-driving technology after a fatal crash in Florida involving a Model S.

    Preliminary reports indicated that it happened when a tractor-trailer made a left turn in front of the Tesla at an intersection. Tesla said neither the driver nor the self-drive system noticed the truck.

    "My concern is that this was an avoidable accident," said Mary Cummings who heads the Humans and Autonomy Laboratory at Duke University.