2019 could be a very interesting year for the Californian carmaker.
Much has been said and written about Tesla for several years now and 2018, in particular, proved vital. How come? In both the third and fourth business quarters Tesla actually made money for the first time. Will this continue this year? Hard to say at the moment because its success boils down to two things, according to CEO Elon Musk: meeting Model 3 demand with increased production, and lowering its price tag.
That long-promised $35,000 version is not yet on sale, though it’s scheduled to arrive this year sometime. Fortunately, Tesla now has additional help with Model 3 production by way of a new factory in Shanghai and improved capacity at its Fremont, California plant. The goal is to build a total of 3,000 and 7,000 Model 3s per week by year’s end in China and the US, respectively.
Assuming that plan progresses as Tesla hopes, chances are we could be seeing the Model Y crossover make its debut appearance in the coming months. As Reuters points out, Tesla ended last year with $4.3 billion in cash on hand, and its total revenue rose 5.9 percent to $7.23 billion. Tesla is actually in pretty good financial shape to invest the necessary resources to make its Model 3 goals happen. It’s not cash-starved.
However, customer deposits decreased by $113 million in Q4 compared to Q3 2018, likely due to people thinking a less expensive Model 3 will never happen. Therefore, Tesla needs to do something to increase those deposits because it invests that money back into its operations.
A Model Y debut, pomp and circumstance and all, could do the trick. Musk would get up on stage, do his thing and present the compact crossover, and walk off with thousands of anxious customers ready to fork over money. Remember, the Model Y will share as much as 75 percent of its parts with the Model 3, meaning much of the engineering work was done long ago. But Tesla could also surprise the world by unveiling its pickup truck at the same time.
The precedent for that was the semi-truck debut; the all-new Roadster was rolled out then as well. A dual Model Y and truck event could be an instant cash infusion for Tesla. That money could be re-invested in helping to up Model 3 production and its sales could further fund development and eventual manufacturing of those two new vehicles.