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Tesla, the Turnaround Story.
Getting to the mid-priced Model 3 above was one bumpy ride. Here’s how it happened…
2003: Tesla incorporated, started by two guys, Eberhard and Tarpenning. They want to make an electric sports car.
2004: Musk leads a US$7.5m investment.
2006: 127 were pre-orders for its electric Roadster at US$100k each. Eberhard was the face of Tesla, Musk’s weak presentation skills put him on the sideline.
2007: Car gets delayed, Eberhard gets forced out.
2008: Tesla production finally begins. Musk takes over as CEO in late 2008, after investing US$55m of his own money. Immediately fires a quarter of staff. He doesn’t think Tesla will make it. On the verge of bankruptcy, Daimler invests
2009: Disaster. Most Roadsters need to be recalled. George Clooney sells his saying “…why am I always stuck on the side of the f***ing road? Make it work, one way or another.”
2010: Musk runs out of personal cash, goes through a messy divorce. Constant fund-raises just about keeps the company going. By end of 2010 Tesla has raised almost US$1bn of equity and debt financing.
2012: Model S production starts with prices starting at US$57k. Software glitches, shoddy finishing, concerns about residual values…
2013: …and so pre-orders were not being converted to sales. Musk makes back-up plan to sell Tesla to Google for US$6bn, tells all Tesla staff to call potential customers direct to sell the damn cars. Wait, what? And Tesla guarantees the residual value of the cars - a desperately risky move. But it worked - 25,000 sold by January 2014. No sale to Google.
And the rest is history…
Today Tesla’s market cap is US$60bn, making it more valuable than BMW. Wow!
Just one thing, they do look a lot like Mazdas…