Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk said late Tuesday he foresees “a year of difficulty” for the global economy, with “lots of companies” going bankrupt, and said that the EV maker will not be immune to the downdraft, even as he teased two new products for Tesla in the future.
“It’s is going to be a challenging 12 months, and Tesla is not immune to the global economic environment,” Musk said at the Tesla
shareholder meeting in Austin, Texas, where he spoke for nearly two hours on a wide range of topics.
The macroeconomic environment will be “difficult for at least the next 12 months,” Musk said. A turnaround, however, would come in the following 12 months, and long-term investors in Tesla will do “extremely well,” he said.
A shareholder in the audience asked about “rumors” that Musk would be about to step down as CEO, ending with “say it ain’t so.” Musk responded with “it ain’t so,” but offered no further details.
The executive also surprised the audience by saying that Tesla, which famously has eschewed traditional advertising, will now do it. “We will try advertising and see how it goes,” he said.
Musk teased two new products to be unveiled in the future, and promised more details at a yet-to-be-detailed launch event. The unnamed products would be “head and shoulders above anything else” currently in the market, he said.
Tesla has been working on a next-generation vehicle that would be cheaper than its current offerings, but nothing has been detailed.
Musk promised a revamp for the Tesla Roadster in 2024, although he said that wasn’t a firm commitment. A new Roadster “will not be a huge contributor to revenue, but it will be sick,” he said.
The CEO’s remarks were largely upbeat, to the applause of the shareholders at the event. Musk also spoke about autonomous driving and Tesla’s plans for alternative energy, and confirmed the Cybertruck, Tesla’s electric pickup truck which has been delayed a couple of times, is on track to be sold this year.
“We will make as many as people want them” eventually, but the production ramp will be slow at first, he said.
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Earlier, a preliminary tally indicated that shareholders voted yes on the proposals endorsed by the company, including approving the nomination of former Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel to the board.
Some shareholders had questioned Straubel’s nomination, saying that Tesla’s board already had too many ties with Musk.
A failed proposal, which had been introduced in previous years and called for a third-party audit into Tesla’s cobalt supply chain to prevent child and forced labor, ended up being embraced by Musk.
“You know what, we will do a third-party audit,” although he said that Tesla products don’t use that much cobalt.
Tesla shares gained 1.2% in after-hours trading. So far this year, Tesla has gained 35%, compared with gains of around 7% for the S&P 500 index