Tesla struggles to calm investors and employees | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 03.08.2017
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Tesla struggles to calm investors and employees

Iconic US electric carmaker Tesla has reported growing demand for its e-cars in its business quarter ending June, but it is yet to report a profit. This is not the only thing that worries workers at the Fremont plant.

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Tesla shares rally as new model deliveries begin

California-based Tesla reported a 90-percent jump in revenues year-on-year for its automotive unit in the quarter ending June 30. Money taken in by the division climbed to $2.3 billion (1.9 billion euros).

But the surge in revenues did not translate into solid earnings. In fact, Tesla has yet to report a profit, logging a loss of $336 million attributable to shareholders in the quarter under review.

The carmaker has been pushing hard to ramp up production of electric vehicles, with the first batch of Model 3 sedans for the broader market delivered to buyers at the end of last week.

An average of more than 1,800 net reservations for Model 3 cars are being added daily, with orders for pricier S and X models also rising steadily.

Tesla said it produced 25,708 vehicles in the second quarter, some 40 percent more than it made in the same period a year earlier, having investors worried about whether the company is able to meet growing demand.

Safety and pay concerns

The latest earnings report came as management was trying to fend off escalating worker complaints about pay and safety at its factory in Fremont, where a move to unionize was gaining steam.

In a letter to Tesla's independent board members, workers requested access to the automaker's safety plan as well as clarity on compensation and a promise of no retaliation against employees as they tried to form a union.

"We're tired of suffering preventable injury after preventable injury," production worker Michael Catura said in the letter. "It impacts morale, it slows down production and it's of course traumatizing."

On Twitter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk criticized the union drive and denied charges that working conditions at the Fremont facility were unsafe.

He has not responded to worker complaints about pay. Starting wages for production associates at the Fremont plant are $18 an hour, far below the national average for autoworkers of $25.58.

hg/jd (AFP, AP)

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