Elon Musk acknowledges tough economic outlook for Tesla in shareholder meeting: Report

During Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting in Austin, Texas, CEO Elon Musk addressed concerns about the global economy, stating that the electric vehicle manufacturer is not immune to the challenging economic conditions expected over the next year.

Musk dismissed rumors of him stepping down as CEO and provided updates on upcoming vehicle models, including the Cybertruck pickup, which is scheduled for delivery later this year. In a notable shift, Musk mentioned that Tesla would explore advertising its vehicles, a departure from their previous marketing strategy.

Despite Tesla’s leading position in the electric car market, Musk acknowledged that the company had missed its margin target in the first quarter due to aggressive price cuts amidst a slowdown in the economy and increased competition.

Shareholders approved the appointment of JB Straubel, Tesla’s co-founder and former CTO, to the board, despite concerns raised by proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis regarding his independence. Straubel, currently the CEO of Redwood Materials, is seen as a potential successor to Musk.

Some investors expressed frustration over Musk’s focus on other ventures, such as his acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion. Musk assured shareholders that Twitter is now in a stable state and his involvement will be minimal going forward.

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During the meeting, Musk also discussed Tesla’s plans for future models, expressing a desire to produce a quarter-million Cybertrucks annually based on market demand. He mentioned the expected production of the next-generation Roadster electric sports car in the coming year.

Additionally, Musk briefly touched on two new mass-market models under development, without providing further details.

Addressing concerns about responsible sourcing, Musk stated that Tesla would conduct a third-party audit to ensure there is no child labor involved in the cobalt mines that supply battery ingredients. He emphasized Tesla’s limited use of cobalt, primarily as a binder, with the majority of their battery packs relying on iron-based components.

During the shareholder meeting, most proposals put forth by the board received swift approval from shareholders. Musk and Chair Robyn Denholm were re-elected as board members, despite concerns raised by proxy advisory firm ISS regarding the use of Tesla shares as collateral for loans by Musk and his brother, Kimbal.

As Tesla faces ongoing economic challenges and increased competition in the electric vehicle market, Musk’s insights and strategic decisions will play a crucial role in shaping the company’s future trajectory.