Tesla is promoting 2012 as the Year of the Model S, but things are starting off with a bit of a set-back. Tesla spokesman Ricardo Reyes revealed that both Tesla vice president and chief engineer Peter Rawlinson and Nick Sampson, the Model S vehicle and chassis engineering supervisor, have left the company. The news caused TSLA stock to drop a record 19 percent, Bloomberg reported, and forced Tesla CEO Elon Musk to do a bit of damage control. On Twitter, Musk said, "Sometimes, it is not super fun to run a public company. The exec departure news at Tesla was way overstated."

Not everyone is convinced. 2953 Analytics Inc. principal consultant Jim Hall told Bloomberg that no matter why Rawlinson and Sampson left (Reyes said Rawlinson left for personal reasons while Sampson was finished with his work on the Model S before he left), "it doesn't look good. And for Tesla, looks are very important at this point."

Tesla has already found replacements. Jerome Guillen will take over for Rawlinson while Eric Bach will help the "the final stretch of bringing Model S into production," Musk told Bloomberg.


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  • 73 Comments
      PR
      • 3 Years Ago
      Somebody actually thinks this stock price volatility actually means something about Tesla's future? Really? Let's apply this same standard to all the other publicly traded stocks. If this same amount of volatility is a sign of failure, then EVERY SINGLE publicly traded company should have already failed by now according to that standard. This sort of volatility, especially at such an early stage in a new company's creation is completely expected and normal.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      Big oil conspiracies... go! ;) Time for someone to have a non-commercial plane crash..
        mapoftazifosho
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        Ancient aliens...
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        I forgot, humor is not welcome here.
          DarylMc
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Hello 2WM Are you not aware of the previous plane crash where 3 Tesla employees were killed? http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/02/plane-crash-kills-tesla-employees/ I think I can see what you are getting at but a lot of people would find it poor taste to joke about it. Aside from that best wishes for your upcoming hill climb. I'm sure many people would like to hear how it goes.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          I actually forgot about that myself as well...but yea...too soon I suppose...
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          @2WM DarylMc is quite correct. It's a little lacking in respect to begin a new conspiracy theory.(even in jest).
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      somebody saw the movie Margin Call : ) Tesla motors looks like a super bubble to me and the price is still very inflated. this drop might be in TM's favor so expectations aren't so hgih when sales of model S start to sag a little. my guess is that some of the big players decided to do some spring cleaning so they wouldn't be caught holding the bag when sales disappoint after the summer. this news was just the trigger. the news itself has no real bearing on TM's future. it wont delay launch
        Ford Future
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Dan, you read this blog don't you. The Model S is already Pre-Sold Out.
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          ford, the tesla roadster had a couple of thousand preorders too. they didn't even sell 1000 the first year. far from it. chris, you do not impress me. if we had free speech here I would be more explicit.
          Chris M
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          Oh, Dan is just upset that they won't build his ultra-flimsy dream car - the one that would crumble like a cookie in an accident, and with flimsy struts that would collapse if it ever hit a pothole. So Dan puts down any company actually producing good EVs out of sheer sour grapes envy.
        Nick From Montreal
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Margin call is a pretty good movie, but there is no comparison with Tesla's situation. Tesla is not a house of cards & despite the naysayers, has been able to deliver up until now. In Margin Call, the crisis was brought about by salesmen knowingly selling worthless assets. This could only happen if Tesla delivers empty crates of plastic wrappers instead of the promised Model S. Very unlikely ;)
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Nick From Montreal
          oh no, that's not the case. the stock doesn't represent model S cars. it represents the business value of tesla motors. and that may very well be exactly zero.
      Dave
      • 3 Years Ago
      Baghdad Bob isn't worried either. Everything is peachy.
      JakeY
      • 3 Years Ago
      It seems like the market rebounded fairly quickly probably because of limit orders and others taking advantage of the low price. It does seem like an overreaction, since the part the two were responsible for (vehicle and chassis engineering) is pretty much done already for the Model S. And given the replacements and proper hand-off, it seems like there won't be too big an effect on the production schedule.
      Smith Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      This kind of news will not sour the reputation of Tesla for EV enthusiasts who can afford one. I doubt Tesla will lose a significant number of pre orders. The Model S is the most anticipated EV ever.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Smith Jim
        "The Model S is the most anticipated EV ever." That's a pretty subjective opinion. One could argue that the Nissan Leaf hold that title, based on the number of reservations and sales. But I applaud your enthusiasm.
      EVnerdGene
      • 3 Years Ago
      The difference between Musk; and Ford, Jobs, etc. Musk is running two visionary compaies at the same time (maybe a third?). Without total focus, something's gonna
        Nick From Montreal
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        BTW Jobs was running Pixar and Apple at the same time. Jack Dorsey is currently running Twitter development and Square. It can be done if you have vision & drive. So far Elon Musk has both.
      JeremyD
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nice recovery +17%. still a good buy at this price IMO but still not my cup-o-tea...
      Ford Future
      • 3 Years Ago
      Lotus is in the consulting business as well as it's own product line.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is such a thing even possible?
      • 3 Years Ago
      The TSLA 19% massacre on Friday was unwarranted. The exec transitioning has already occurred and shorts had an excuse to blow up some news just to take it down hard. After more facts came about the stock rallied 8% afterhours proving that the massacre was just b/s. Tomorrow at 8am EST, TSLA will hold a conference call and I am pretty certain that they will say the delivery of Model S cars will be on schedule or even early. If that is the case, the Friday shorts will be toast. http://www.twinluxe.com
      harlanx6
      • 3 Years Ago
      Tesla has been amazing, and they are poised to take off if a breakthrough in electrical storage occurs. Being first with a usable quality product has it's advantages. Without an E storage breakthrough, they will struggle. Eventually they have to make a profit.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        " they are poised to take off if a breakthrough in electrical storage occurs." You ignore the opposite and far more likely situation . . . . oil prices may surge making EVs very attractive. War with Iran, massive strikes in Nigeria, a people's revolution in one of the many oil exporting nations, increased Chinese demand, reduced production from old fields, etc. It may happen faster than people realize . . . or it may happen slowly. But oil depletion is inevitable fact.
          EVnerdGene
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          " they are poised to take off if a breakthrough in electrical storage occurs." Don't you think that every EV company would be poised to take-off if a breakthrough in energy storage occurs ? A Ford Focus EV with a 500 mile range, and roughly $30k. I'm interested !!! Big prob with current Tesla, either Roadster or S is that the batteries alone probably cost $30k. (oh, and when you quote the current wholesale price of 16850 cells, don't forget the BMS, cooling system, containment, stucture, and the labor assembling 6831 cells - or more cells?) $$$ - dats the prob
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          @Marco I did not say it would be fast . . . it might be fast but it might be slow. But it is inevitable. The polar regions certainly contain untapped oil. But not as much as many would like to believe. To get up there, it had to survive a long tectonic shift from more temperate zones up toward the pole. During that transit, much of it is lost from leakage or baked into natural gas instead of oil. Plus extracting it will not be trivial when you have to dodge icebergs. So there will be more oil from the polar region but won't be as much as many people think. They've drilled a lot of dry holes in Alaska & Greenland.
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          @Spec In principle, you are correct, however Oil depletion will not be as fast as you imagine. The Arctic ocean holds of 30% of the worlds total oil. Until recently these fields weren't economically feasible to exploit , but a host of new technology has changed the game plan, these fields are now economically viable. What an horrible irony that global warming should open access to the very product creating GW!
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          @Spec You may be right. the Arctic fields may prove disappointing. That only goes to show how difficult and risky the oil exploration and exploitation business can be. When people rant about massive Oil profits, they overlook all the massive losses. For the Arctic, massive new technologies have to be developed, (even a totally new form of reversible Icebreaker). If no oil can be commercially exploited , all that colossal investment is lost. Risky business.
        Ford Future
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        A look at Panasonic's battery record shows, that without major breakthru's battery's are increasing at an 8% annual improvement. In 10 years, capacity will be at least double current capacity. Tesla's however, don't have an electric range problem. They've sold out on both the Roadster and the Model S. They've bought their own US Factory. They are successfully competing with Jag and possibly Porsche, one could say the first sale goes to Tesla, and if you don't get a Model S, you have to default to a Jag. But, this is a Growing Startup. They have costs that the major's have already paid for. I like Peter Lynch's Product based philosophy. Would you Buy a Tesla? Yes. Then you buy the stock.
          theflew
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          They are not successfully competing with Jag and Porsche. Given the number of products they have sold they are competing with kit car builders. When they are building several Model S's a day and have dealers and supply then you can take about competing. Like the Leaf and the Volt true demand will not be known until 2012/13
          EVnerdGene
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          past performance is no indication of future performance
          skierpage
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          @theflew, Name a kit car builder that has made and sold 1,900 vehicles (which averages out to "several a day"). Name one that makes its own motor, motor controller, battery pack, and battery management system. Even before the Model S, Tesla moved way beyond "kit car builder" when it produced the Roadster. Tesla doesn't have dealers, it owns its own stores (25 worldwide) so it keeps more of the profits and has no conflict with selling gas guzzlers to make money from servicing them. Do pay attention.
        Gabbo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        You've just stated Tesla's biz plan: Pray for a battery breakthrough. Even with said breakthrough, they'll never make it .... just lousy planning from a one-hit wonder. Bub-bye Musk.
          thomas
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Gabbo
          there is nothing wrong with current batteries; 500km is more than enough for a lot of people; the problem is price and getting their product to mass market
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Gabbo
          Everyone, calm the eff down. Let the Model S be released prior to talking poorly about them. They are a new company. The model S has great potential, as does the Rav4 (using the tesla system) the model X, and the Blue Star. Let's take a wait and see....there are enough anti-EV people out there - the least we can do is be neutral...
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Gabbo
          actually so far it is a zero hit wonder. the roadster program has lost them a lot of money. tesla motors is fueled by cash. something like 3/4 billion dollar net loss so far. quite a business model : )
          Gabbo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Gabbo
          @DanFrederiksen: By "one hit wonder" I meant PayPal !
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Gabbo
          @Gabbo. I think you are grossly underestimating Elon Musk. I can understand a certain wariness about investing in an enterprise which is essentially one man, however Elon Musk is truly exceptional. Both Toyota and Daimler have showed a willingness to accept Musk as a potentially serious industry figure. I would like to see Tesla with a more formalised relationship with Toyota, but the current relationship and JVC's look promising and Tesla has come a long way, very fast! " they'll never make it" It's a big call ! You may be right, but it's not a bet I would undertake lightly!
        martinwinlow
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        The average daily milage for US cars is less than 40 miles. The S comes in models with range between 160 and 300 miles. How much storage do you think they need?
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