Elon Musk and Tesla: An Electrifying Love Affair

Elon Musk and Tesla: An Electrifying Love Affair

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  • Teaching Notes
Abstract

Tesla is a marketing case study in constant motion. The electric vehicle (EV) maker is led by the South African-Canadian-American entrepreneur, Elon Musk. He is the primary investor, with 22% of shares and USD 80 million invested in 2004. Tesla has struggled to become profitable. After a decade of being in the red, and billions of dollars in losses, the company turned a profit for the first time in the third quarter of 2019. The credit goes to the affordable Model 3 and a record delivery of almost 100,000 vehicles to the mass market. To turn things around, Musk went all in with a futuristic Cybertruck in the United States and a factory in China, the biggest EV market. Although Musk is the CEO and product architect of Tesla, he has never received a salary from the company. However, his current contractual arrangement could be extremely rewarding if Tesla’s market capitalization soars to USD 100 billion. In March 2019, Tesla shareholders voted to award Musk USD 2.6 billion in stock options if he manages to hit that market cap in the next 10 years. Will the innovation and overseas growth make Tesla sustainably profitable and Musk the richest person in the world?

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