Tesla CEO Elon Musk stunned analysts a few months ago by refusing to answer their “boring” questions on a Tesla earnings call, choosing instead to field questions from a YouTuber. Tesla’s stock price took a hit.
But on Wednesday, Musk said he was said he was sorry for the testy exchange. He spent more than an hour on this quarter’s earnings call taking questions from analysts and journalists.
His amenable tone along with Tesla’s overall financial report appeared to win investors over. Tesla’s after-hours stock price climbed more than 10% around the time he offered his apology.
It’s a sign Tesla fans on Wall Street may have had their faith restored in Musk after a rocky few weeks.
Musk offered his apologies directly to Toni Sacconaghi from Bernstein and Joseph Spak of RBC Capital Markets, the analysts he brushed off in May.
“First of all, I’d like to apologize for you know being impolite on the prior call. There’s obviously no excuse for bad manners, and I was kind of violating my own rule that regard,” Musk told Sacconaghi.
He went on to explain he’s been worn out lately from working “110, 120 hour weeks.”
Sacconaghi said he “appreciated” the apology.
Minutes later, Spak came on to ask a question, and Musk again said he was sorry for being “impolite” on the last call.
“Thanks,” Spak replied.
His bizarre behavior in May had prompted fears among investors that Musk was willing to burn bridges with Wall Street at a crucial time for his cash-strapped electric car company.
And it came ahead of more baffling behavior from the CEO, which has included making an unfounded and disparaging claim about one of the Thai cave rescue workers. Musk recently apologized for that ordeal as well.
In the second quarter, which ended June 30, Tesla lost $743 million on sales of $4 billion. It lost $3.06 per share on an adjusted basis, excluding stock compensation — more than analysts had expected. The company’s cash balance fell to $2.2 billion, with the net decrease narrowing to $436 million, from $745 million in the first quarter.
Musk has repeatedly forecast that Tesla will generate profits in the third and fourth quarters of this year, and the company said Wednesday it still expected to achieve that goal. Tesla warned, though, of “negative pressures” from higher import duties on Chinese components — a consequence of President Donald Trump’s trade battle with China.
On one of its most closely watched metrics — production of the mass-market Model 3 — the company reported gains. In late June, Tesla passed a key milestone, producing 5,000 of the vehicles in a week — the benchmark it has said it needs for sustainable profitability. In July, Tesla maintained that production pace “multiple times,” the company said Wednesday.
“A total vehicle output of 7,000 vehicles per week, or 350,000 per year, should enable Tesla to become sustainably profitable for the first time in our history,” the company said Wednesday in a note to investors.
Tesla shares closed Wednesday at $300.84.