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At Tesla shareholder meeting, Musk assures “there is not a demand problem”

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Tesla held a shareholder meeting in Mountain View, Calif., on Tuesday afternoon, and CEO Elon Musk addressed the audience on a number of issues facing the company before taking questions from shareholders.

Tesla had a complicated first half of the year. It achieved significant Model 3 delivery, but reportedly sluggish demand for the Model S and X has dragged the company down. Some analysts have turned bearish on Tesla after Musk promised profitable quarters going forward in Q4 2018 but then missed profitability badly in Q1 2019.

But Musk defended his company's health in his initial statement to the audience. He told shareholders "I want to be clear that there is not a demand problem… Sales have far exceeded production, and production has been pretty good. We have a decent shot at a record quarter… if not, it's going to be very close." Musk added that 90 percent of orders are coming from non-reservation customers.

Although Musk touted his company as a leader in revenue among American automakers, he stepped back from his claims of quarter-on-quarter profitability. At one point, he told a shareholder "profitability is always challenging when you're a fast-growing company… Last year, we doubled our fleet… it's hard to be profitable for that level of growth."

Musk then added, "I think we can be cash-flow positive despite having a very fast growth rate." The CEO also moved on to his outlook for Tesla's product line, stating that "it wont be long before we have a 400-mile-range car."

The most important things for shareholders to be looking out for, according to the executive? Battery availability and the Full Self Driving timeline.

Full Self Driving

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On the Full Self Driving front, Tesla is working in a self-made headwind after the company promised that early customers would receive advanced access to software that would make the feature available. Meanwhile, Consumer Reports called the latest version of Autopilot "less competent than a human."

This evening, Musk didn't make any specific promises about the timeline for Full Self Driving. But he reiterated that the feature "should be able to go from your garage to your parking space at work" without assistance. Later in the evening, Musk told a shareholder that Tesla is working on "road edge" and "curb" software to help the car handle temporary driving outside of traditional lanes more easily.

At the moment, Musk said, his prototype Full Self Driving feature "can take me from my house to the office." But he added that "there are interventions at times—it doesn't perfectly deal with every intersection or every turn."

Musk also admitted some challenges with perfecting the "summon" feature that he had promoted months ago. He said that summon "had to be reasonably fast" to navigate parking lots, or it would be more convenient to simply walk to your car. Navigating parRead More – Source

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Ars Technica

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