Tesla Looked Like the Future. Now Some Ask if It Has One.

Just a year ago, Tesla looked like a rising force destined to revolutionize the auto industry.

Its battery-powered Model S sedan was the rage among luxury-car buyers. Its Autopilot system seemed far ahead of its competitors in self-driving technology. Its chief executive, Elon Musk, was promising that the more affordable Model 3 would soon roll off its assembly line and bring emission-free driving to the masses.

Wall Street was enraptured. Tesla’s market value rose to surpass that of either General Motors or Ford, car companies with a century of experience.

What a rough ride it’s been since then.

Not only has the Model 3’s introduction been mired in glitches and delays — “manufacturing hell,” as Mr. Musk put it — but Tesla’s driverless efforts have been overshadowed, and the company has continued to lose money quarter after quarter.

In just the past week, Tesla’s troubles have intensified. Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the company’s credit rating, concerned that it was burning through cash. Those worries have grown so dire that some analysts are asking whether the company could run out of money by the end of the year.

“I’ve said for some time that Tesla is far from a sure bet, or a stable company for that matter,” said Clement Thibault, a senior analyst at Investing.com. “Tesla has been living on borrowed time and money for quite some time.”

Tesla shares dropped 8 percent on Tuesday and another 8 percent Wednesday, and though they regained ground Thursday, they have lost almost a quarter of their value in less than three weeks.

Reflecting questions about Tesla’s ability to pay off its debt, its bonds have slumped as well. Those that will mature in 2025 traded at about 88 cents on the dollar on Thursday.

A Tesla representative declined to comment on the company’s finances.

Read the rest at: Is Tesla Dead?

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