How Can Elon Musk Reassure Tesla Investors?

How Can Elon Musk Reassure Tesla Investors?

Elon Musk as CEO and Tom Zhu

Electric vehicle maker announces price cut and recall of Cybertruck

Tesla has hardly been keeping quiet as it prepares to announce earnings on Tuesday.

Shares in the carmaker are down in premarket trading on Monday after the company announced further cost cuts and a recall of its ballyhooed Cybertruck model over the past few days. These developments are the latest signs that Tesla is confronting its toughest stretch in years — and many shareholders aren’t convinced that the company and its C.E.O., Elon Musk, are taking the right steps to address it.

The latest: During the weekend, Tesla cut prices of several models in China, the U.S. and Europe. The company also reduced the price of its driver-assistance software, known as Full Self-Driving (which doesn’t actually allow for fully autonomous driving).

Those moves came a day after Tesla voluntarily recalled nearly 4,000 Cybertrucks over a faulty accelerator pedal that could get stuck.

It’s all apparently keeping Musk so busy that he canceled a trip to India, during which he was expected to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and announce plans to build a factory there.

The moves came after an event-filled week for Tesla. The company had already announced that it was laying off 10 percent of its work force and that it was asking shareholders to again approve a multibillion-dollar payout for Musk that a Delaware judge had voided.

Markets aren’t sure the carmaker is on the right track. The cost cuts are only the latest announced in recent months, as Tesla tries to reverse a sales slump while rivals are taking market share. Analysts are especially worried about softening demand in China, a wider E.V. slowdown in the U.S., and that the price reductions are hurting global profit without juicing sales.

Investors are also concerned about Musk’s renewed focus on introducing autonomous-driving services like a so-called robotaxi. The project is likely to be expensive and its outcome uncertain — and may be coming at the expense of introducing a cheaper Tesla model that could help revive sales.

Shares in Tesla have fallen more than 40 percent this year, and that’s before Tuesday’s report. Wall Street already expects it will show a sharp plunge in operating profit and revenue.

Musk supporters point out that he has made counterintuitive, aggressive bets before that not only saved the company but briefly made it one of the world’s most valuable publicly traded businesses. They’re hoping that will happen again — but a lot has to go right this time.

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