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Shadow Assignment

Points first meeting

Our company of choice is Tesla.


Dedicate 1-2 pages to a stock price analysis, comparing stock price to news articles. Our hypothesis is that Tesla's stock price is influenced greatly by news, since it is so publicly known.

Dedicate 1/2 - 1 page to the mission and vision statement of Tesla, analyse how their mission and vision answers modern day problems.

Questions we have to answer in our assignment:

What accounts to Tesla's success ?

How does their structure differ from other traditional companies ?

What are Tesla's plans for the future ? Powerwall ? Model III ? - Environmental

Marketing - new technology, sales are influenced by news

How does environmental taxes influence Tesla\'s sales?

Things to do

Read(Scan) Tesla Annual Report 2015

Read Airborne Case(will be used as example)

KLM Example

Gather other sources of information about Tesla (also external sources).

Introduction (1pg)


Why we chose Tesla - the vision, the great success, impressive performance (in growth)  

History of the company -

Overview (1pg)



Innovation (Definitely mention Model 3)

Finance & Accounting


Vision (1pg) (positive impact, Earth, change, innovation (model 3), grow naturally/organically)

Marketing (2pg) (buying online, don\'t have dealers, no marketing budget, a lot of media attention - how?)

Operations (2pg) (expansion problems, Car charging business, Gigafactory, Partnerships)

Finance & Accounting (2pg) (losses for 5 years, where does the money come from?, and more importantly where does it go?, something about the stocks)

Conclusion (1pg)

Bibliography (1pg)

Read and involve the chapter from the book in your topic!

Structure: First explain why we have chosen this particular area and than mention different points on your functional area of business and be critical about each point after it. so:


Critical thinking


Critical thinking

Shadow Assignment

Team 49.2016

Tesla Motors, Inc.

R. Koppers - 442765

H.H. Svendsen - 454554

T. Konkashev - 446634

J. Zoeller - 443860

C.B.A. van Wandelen - 442766

Introduction (Hedda)

  It all started back in 1888 when the Serbian-American inventor, engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla invented the induction motor. With the help of rotating magnetic fields, it was now possible to induce electricity, and in that way provide power in a whole new manner. 115 years later this technology inspired a group of scientists and engineers in Silicon Valley to begin a process they believed could change the world as we know it. Tesla Motors Inc., hereafter called Tesla, was founded in 2003(Tror du må ha en kilde her). By 2008, they had launched their first car, the Tesla Roadster. Since then, the company has experienced an immense growth and Tesla cars are today to be found on the roads of more than 30 countries. With its innovative technology and way of thinking, the brand is also one of the most discussed and exciting brands in the industry today.

Tesla motor's mission is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy (Tesla Motors, 2016). The idea of working without compromises is an important part of the production process, and the finished result is a car that works better than most - with zero emissions. Elon Musk saw the upcoming possibilities for the brand early on and became one of the main investors of the company. His entrepreneurial leadership style inspires employees, investors and competitors to share his vision for the future. Within a few years after he took over as CEO for Tesla motors, he rapidly changed the world of electric vehicles by giving away Tesla's patents to their rivals in the industry  (Introduction to business: Processes and Context (UK: Cengage Learning EMEA, 2016), page ).  This made the industry grow and also made electrical vehicles a topic that interested the public. Simultaneously, this opened up for further growth and new possibilities for the company.

With a genuine desire to make a change in the world, a leader with a clear vision and an innovative business plan, Tesla has accomplished a lot within a short time period. Tesla's rapid growth intrigued and interested us, and we wanted to learn more of what lies behind Tesla's success. Therefore, we felt the natural choice for this shadow assignment would be Tesla.

Overview (Constantijn)

HR management

Tesla, a company that lives in the future, does not use traditional HR management techniques. Applying for a job at Tesla is done online. The idea of “no paperwork” complies perfectly with Tesla's mission of creating a sustainable planet. According to Boryana Dineva, Head of HRIS, Operations and Data Analytics, the company embraces a startup mentality, which is mostly due to Tesla's explosive growth. She also made clear that since Tesla is not profitable yet, they do not have a budget for HR analytics. Tesla has a referral program. which is, as the word gives away, a system where current employees can refer acquaintances for jobs and are rewarded for doing so.“The referral program is the most amazing thing that can happen to strategic workforce planning – if you care about performance” Dineva said at Human Capital Institute's 2015 Workforce Planning and Talent Strategy Conference.

The most significant advantages of the referral program are the facts that those referred stay longer, feel more comfortable and perform better than those who applied for a job opening online. All of this is due to the referrers functioning as a sort of culture-fit screen for the company, those referred fit Tesla perfectly. What the referral program comes down to is that “A-players refer A-players”. And Tesla, exclusively hires A-players. What we can conclude about Tesla's HR department is that it must row with the oars that it has. And is, through creativity, flexibility and innovation, doing a stellar job.


While Billion dollar companies have multi million dollar marketing budgets, Tesla, with a revenue of $4.04 Billion USD in 2015 spend a total of $0 USD on marketing since it's establishment according to Tesla's 2015 annual report. In a world where we breathe advertisements, might a $0 USD marketing budget be seen as a decision prone to failure. But this is not the case with Tesla. Even though they have never published a single ad, everyone with access to the internet, has heard of their astonishing cars. Tesla sells a piece of the future and everyone is aware of Tesla's mission of accelerating the advent of sustainable transport. Besides, by not spending on marketing, Tesla can focus more resources on the development of their vehicles, making them even better. What Tesla is doing is already interesting, and the media is all over them, people are genuinely interested in their products and therefore do not to be stimulated with a marketing campaign.


Operations at Tesla supports its business plan using innovative strategies, which break the unwritten rules of the automobile industry. Tesla does not use a wide network of dealerships that function as intermediaries between the car company and its customers. Tesla cut out the middlemen by selling their cars exclusively online, through their website. If you do want to see a Tesla before buying one you can go to one of their showrooms, which are located in the middle of malls and plazas, just like any Apple store. Tesla's Supercharge stations also form part of the direct user experience aspect of their operations, Supercharge stations are crucial because they make buying an electric vehicle more appealing. Tesla's focus on innovation and technology has transcended to their operations.


Tesla is the world's most innovative company according to Forbes in 2016. Tesla creates entire sectors around their innovations, Tesla brought the electrical vehicle (EV) to the general market and stimulated the development of its technology by liberating patents. It is not only the electrical drivetrain of their cars, but also the technology within them that is groundbreaking. Tesla is the first company to implement self driving capabilities in their cars and more astonishingly, they brought this update over air, just like downloading the newest IOS. Tesla is far from done with innovating, they are constantly adding features to their cars' software and are planning to once again raise the bar with their model 3. Besides cars, Tesla is setting the stage for the energy storage business with their PowerWall for homes and PowerPack for businesses.

Finance & Accounting

It is without doubt that innovation is expensive, and so is creating new markets, Tesla is doing both. This has translated into growing losses every year since its IPO, according to GAAP. Besides is Tesla the 12th most shorted NASDAQ 100 component. Even though all this big financial letdowns are well supported claims, Tesla stock is still on the rise, and investors are increasingly oversubscribing every stock offering.

Vision (Hedda)

The brand is based on a strong vision and a genuine desire to make a valuable impact on the world. Their mission is to create the best electric car ever seen, and in that way prove to the world that an electric vehicle can outperform the mechanical one. The dream of the electric transport revolution has been present for many actors, but few have actually dared to implement it. Elon Musk, the CEO and cofounder of Tesla, is known to invest in daring projects and is driving the company into the future with his strongly entrepreneurial spirit. The management at Tesla believes that their car can trigger a transport revolution, bringing electric motoring to the masses. This would create a society where we will not depend on oil and gas in the same way as today. (add some statistic over electric vs mechanical cars + pollution - GRAF). As JB Straubel, Co-founder and CTO at Tesla, stated it: We are solving problems for our children and grandchildren (source).

Starting a new brand with these kind of ambitions makes it necessary to have an innovative and risky business plan. Tesla's strategic plan consists of three parts. The first step was to get known in the marked. As stated by CEO and Co-founder Elon Musk; “Tesla needed to invest in their reputation first, and worry about profit later” (source). Thus, the production of a small number of highly valued cars started, to prove to the world that an electric car could perform really well. This led to the birth of the Tesla Roadster. The Second step, was to produce a mainstream electric car that could perform better than a mechanical one. This leads to the Model S – the family car that would lead the electrical cars out to the masses - rewrite to avoid confusion with model 3 (masses), and in that way state the beginning of Tesla's mission. The third step is to expand to a wider range of electric vehicles. This would be more affordable cars, mass-produced in Tesla's own Giga Factories. Tesla's third model, Model X, is soon to be released – a car that would hopefully reach the masses and contribute to Tesla's idea of a transport revolution.

The way Tesla planned to take over the market is simply to deliver the best product in the market. We can conclude that Tesla is a high-end disruptor due to its innovations around which markets emerge or which outperform existing products.

They do not compromise in the production process, providing high quality and high performance cars. A revolution of the car industry toward electric vehicles would lead to a society where our transport would not produce fumes, poisonous emissions, dirt or noise - nor be dependent on expensive gasoline. The goal is to produce so exciting and brilliant cars that “Driving a gasoline car is going to feel like yesterday” (Elon Musk, National Geographic interview, going to list my sources better promise!!).

Operations Management (Looks a lot, but just 2 pages in word!)

     Tesla is not only an unique company due to its vision, but also due to its operations management. The company strives to control their whole supply chain and also succeeds in this pretty well. This is very contradictory to the recent trend among manufacturing firms, that relies much more on outsourcing of production and therefore decreasing of the company's supply chain, instead of trying to get control of it (Book introduction to Business, page 206). Therefore, this differential kind of operations management raised a lot of (critical) questions among us. Why did the company choose this strategy? Is this really the most profitable way for the company to produce and sell cars? How does Tesla apply this strategy? And what risks does the company face? All those unanswered questions seemed like a good reason for us to take a closer look at this particular functional area of business of Tesla.

Tesla is the absolute pioneer in the market for electric cars. The company was the first to commercialize electric cars and is the only one in its industrial branch that solely produces electric vehicles. Seeing the fact that an electric car needs a considerable amount of components that are not used for the production of regular cars, Tesla had a problem with finding suppliers in the car industry. Therefore, the company had to reach out to other kinds of industries, resulting in partnerships with companies like Panasonic. For a long time period, Panasonic has been the only supplier of batteries for all of the Tesla cars. Another decision of Peter Carlsson (Supply chain vice president at Tesla) regarding their supply chain, was to take a certain part into their own account. This was mainly due to the fact that a lot of the company's products for in the cars, such as the infotainment system, were designed from the bottom up by the company. Hence, the company had to design the procurement processes themselves. This has of course, everything to do with the innovation spirit at Tesla. Still, a certain number of components that are used for Tesla's vehicles are supplied by regular car suppliers. However, Tesla does set high quality requirements on these components, to be able to produce their high-end cars.

There are obviously clear reasons for Tesla, to control a relatively big part of their supply chain. We think that this has many benefits for the company as a whole, since unique in-car products perfectly suit the unique image of the company itself, and therefore attributes to customer satisfaction. It also makes Tesla less dependent on suppliers in general, since they have got less of them. At the same time Tesla has more time available to build up a better relation with the suppliers that they do have. However, there is one big downside on this kind of supply chain management. That are obviously the extra costs that Tesla has for not outsourcing its production to low-cost countries such as China. Next to this, the high quality requirements that Tesla sets for his suppliers, also result in increased costs. Higher quality requirements namely requires suppliers to put more effort in their products, what in general results in increased costs for suppliers, what they will pass on in their prices for Tesla.

The fact that Panasonic was for a long time the only supplier for the batteries of the Tesla cars, made Tesla very dependent on Panasonic. Besides the fact that solid agreements with Panasonic had been made about the amount and price of the batteries, this did not guarantee any protection to internal or external problems of Panasonic. If Panasonic would go bankrupt or anything happens to a battery factory (e.g. natural disaster), Tesla would not be able to provide batteries for its cars. However, Tesla was completely aware of this and has taken steps to provide their own supply of batteries.


Two years ago, Tesla began with their biggest project so far, a 5 billion dollar ‘Gigafactory'. This Gigafactory – located in Nevada, USA – is expected to produce 500.000 of Tesla's vehicles and also energy store products, at the end of this decennium (annual report). Since this major construction project only started two years ago, the Gigafactory is obviously not fulfilling its full capacity at this moment. Resulting that up till now, only the demand of the lithium batteries needed for Tesla's energy store products can be fulfilled by the Gigafactory.  However, at this moment, Tesla is working on setting up the large scale production lithium-ion batteries for its mass market Model 3 Sedan. So very soon the Gigafactory will also start to produce the lithium-batteries for a certain amount of Tesla's vehicles (

Since 5 billion dollars is a huge expenditure, even for such a well-performing company as Tesla, other investors had to be found. This has resulted in an extension of the partnership with Panasonic. Panasonic has agreed on investing in production equipment that it will use to manufacture and supply battery cells for Tesla. Furthermore, Panasonic will allow Tesla to purchase a minimum of 1.8 billion lithium-ion battery cells at preferential prices during the period from 2014 through 2017 (annual report).

In our opinion, Tesla has made a well-thought decision about building their own Gigafactory. For the past years, Tesla has been a relatively small car company, despite their outspoken ambitions to let their electric cars dominate the world. However, when reached its full potential, this Gigafactory will enable Tesla to build electric cars at a very large scale. This is exactly what Tesla needs, since their new Model 3 is entering the mass market soon. Therefore, this Gigafactory is a great first step for Tesla to realize their long term goal and mission statement (accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market ( The Gigafactory will also reduce the costs of Tesla, since the company will benefit from economies of scale.

However, we must not forget, that Tesla has only limited experience in building a factory. Besides that, the company has absolutely no experience in the production of lithium-ion cells, since Panasonic has always supplied them with those. So, if the construction of the Gigafactory may take longer than expected, which is not unthinkable seeing Tesla's experience, or the production of lithium-ion batteries gets delayed, which is also a possibility, Tesla's business, prospects, financial condition and operating results, could be negatively affected. Particularly, at this moment, where the release date of the new Model 3 car – aimed for the mass market – is getting closer by every second.

Total quality management

The final aspect of Tesla - with respect to operations management - that we have analyzed, regards the company's approach to quality.

Whilst gathering information about Tesla, we noticed that the company has a lot of characteristics of total quality management. Despite the absence of this method in any official company reports, we do assume that this is, maybe unknowingly, an approach that Tesla executes. With ‘continuous improvement' as a ground value, high quality requirements not only for internal processes but also for other organizations in the supply chain and a lot of attention for the collection and analysis of information, Tesla is likely to fulfill an approach to quality that is very similar to the one of total quality management (Book intro to business). A criticism to this approach is that this requires high levels of trust across members in the entire organization. In our opinion, Tesla limits the negative effects of this criticism, by their extraordinary way of recruiting new employees via their referral program.


Despite the fact that Tesla is considered to be one of the most successful companies, it has not generated any profits yet. For a company that has such impressive growth figures as Tesla, this is an interesting occurrence. Are the net losses caused by a non profitable business plan, or are the net losses caused by other reasons? Clearly, Tesla is in an unorthodox  financial state. Interesting enough for us to take a closer look at the financial aspect of the company.

Stock (TSLA)

Elon Musk\'s company attracts huge interest in public and among investors. When the company placed its Initial Public Offer (IPO), stocks were priced on $20. Since their IPO the company\'s stock price increased in price 10 times and on today\'s date, 30th of September 2016, are quoted at $200. The company's market value reached a historical high on 20th of July 2015 when stock\'s price rocketed to $286.

After a technical analysis of Tesla's stock (TSLA) we found a long-term resistance at $275.5 and support at $187.5, Tesla's stock has been in a weakly sloped downtrend since September 2014. We also noticed a strong correlation between EV industry related news and the TSLA stock price. News of competing companies dedicating more of their capital to the EV market pushes the TSLA stock price upwards, which means that investors see Tesla as a market leader, and more importantly, have the need for the support from the Internal Combustion Engine industry leaders' trust in the EV market.

Investors look prosperously to the company's future. Despite the fact that investors are very satisfied with Tesla's strategic business plan, stock prices are very volatile and company shows net losses for the past 5 years (annual report).

Why Tesla\'s stock is so volatile? First, despite high popularity, stocks of Tesla still remain low-activity – the trading volume per trading session usually does not exceed 5 million stocks ( Therefore even minor group of speculators with a small amount of equity can influence Tesla's stock price. Secondly, despite phenomenal achieved success, Tesla in fact is still a start-up. The company in its growth phase, huge amount of resources is spent on Research & Development, many mature company features are not established yet.


As mentioned in operations management, the gigafactory will have an estimated cost of $5 Billion. $2 Billion of the total investment will come from Tesla, the rest from partner Panasonic, which is going to invest in the production equipment. In 2015 Tesla spent $220 Million of cash on the Gigafactory and expects to spend $250 Million in 2016.  The first 1,000 Acres of land were given to Tesla free of charge by the developer of the industrial park (Roerink). Tesla has also agreed with the state of Nevada on tax incentives, “-the state will provide abatements for sales and use taxes, real and personal property taxes, and employer excise taxes, discounts to the base tariff energy rates, and transferable tax credits. These incentives will be available for the applicable periods beginning on October 17, 2014 and ending on June 30, 2034, subject to capital investments by Tesla and its partners for the Gigafactory of at least $3.5 billion in the aggregate on or before June 30, 2024.” (2015 Annual Report). As explained in operations management, the gigafactory is going to produce the battery packs for the Tesla Automobiles and assemble Tesla's energy storage solutions. The production cost of these products will decrease by 30% due to the factory's efficiency, economies of scale and savings on distribution costs. The tax incentives and lower production costs will enhance margins, therefore increase profits, and/or allow Tesla to lower the sale price of Tesla's products. Lower sale prices increase demand, the higher output of the gigafactory will also enable Tesla to meet this demand, resulting in higher revenue.

Loses and balance sheet

For a start we will glance at the last annual report. In 2015 revenue jumped up for 26.5% - to 4.05 billion dollars. At the same time, net loss of the Tesla grew almost by 3 times and exceeded 888 million dollars. In total for 2015 year total income constituted nearly 1.9 billion dollars that is 36% more than a last year\'s indicator. At the same time, if we are analyzing the cash flows, then it is visible that the gross profit grew only by 4.7% compared to 2015, but by 102% compared to 2014. Also operating costs grow at the advancing rates – so, expenses on research and development researches jumped up almost by 54% to 718 million dollars compared to 2014 and by 209% compared to 2013, and administrative and marketing costs increased by 53% compared to 2014 and by 223% compared to 2013 and exceeded 922 million dollars. In general, the company is in a growth phase,

At the same time non-operating incomes were reduced as well. However what is remarkable – in 2012-2015 the total sales flew up almost by 10 times to 4 billion dollars while the gross profit increased by 30 times. Thus, the financial performance of Tesla currently worsens, on the contrary, show steady growth for the future more global strategic plan.

 Australian Financial Review

Predicted production of Model 3(Temir)

Tesla set great hopes on the MODEL 3 which is expected to go to the massive production and is offered to buyers at the price about $35 thousand per unit. It is predicted that it will allow to increase sales significantly and guarantee net profit of a company.

The revenue of the company for the first quarter for 2016 constituted $1,147 billion. It is remarkable that the revenue doesn\'t include a cash flow from pre orders of Model 3 which, according to the latest official data(shareholder\'s letter), constituted $325 million.

If to assume that none of the customer who pre ordered Tesla Model 3 will refuse purchase and all customers will pay in addition the remained $34 thousand upon purchase of the car in 2018, it is possible to consider that the company already ensured revenue of $11 billion. Shown number excludes new preorders and possible profit from the Tesla\'s Model X and Model S.

(will analyze it later, too quantitative)

Add info:

reliable and credible links(Temirkhan)


Have you ever seen any Tesla advertising? We can already tell you now that you have not seen one, because Tesla´s marketing budget is $0 USD. (Tesla Motors, Inc., 2016) Instead of using a millions of USD, Tesla invests this money to optimize its products. Even though Tesla has no marketing budget the media and people are extremely interested in the state of the company from Fremont, CA. The main reasons why Tesla is so known by many people are Elon Musk himself, Green Marketing, the word of mouth and Tesla´s way of distribution.

Firstly, Elon Musk himself, the CEO of Tesla, is a big boost for the appearance of Tesla. He has tremendous passion for his visions and acts with breathtaking confidence, which makes people interested in what he is doing. (Jacoby, 2013) . In the past Musk was involved in the founding of several companies like Zip 2, and PayPal, which were sold very successfully. By now he has turned into one of the most influential people in the world. (Forbes , 2015) Therefore the media and many people are extremely curious about Tesla. Sometimes Elon Musk seems to be narcissistic but he is still great in making people believe in his story about Tesla.

Secondly, Tesla focuses on green marketing by promoting the ecological benefits of their products. (Pride, Hughes, Kepoor, Needle, Williams, & Kelly, 2016) Tesla gives the impression to customers that they buy a piece of the future.  This is supported by using the retronym “gasoline cars” in order to make conventional cars seem like something from the past. (Veerasamy, 2016) By buying a Tesla car, customers help Tesla to accomplish their mission of producing all electric cars for the mass market. So, the current target group of Tesla is wealthy people who make purchase decisions based on their convictions. (Pride, Hughes, Kepoor, Needle, Williams, & Kelly, 2016)

Thirdly, Tesla makes use of the word-of-mouth marketing. The early models surpassed expectations of customers and as a result they started to spread their positive experiences instantly. In early 2013, Musk knew from regional ordering patters that the company´s growth was based on the word of mouth. Based on this, Tesla started introducing referral programs in 2014. The current ongoing programs are four and five which offer advocates different rewards based on how many they refer. (Extole, 2016)

Fourthly, Tesla´s distribution is extremely different compared to conventional car producers. Tesla only sells their cars at their company-owned stores, in person at their headquarters, at corporate events, and on the telephone. Tesla developed stores which have only very little in common with conventional car shops. Musk describes them as follows: “Our technology is different, our car is different, and, as a result, our stores are intentionally different.” The stores are like a showroom, which engage and inform the customer about the product. They are divided into 3 phases, starting with the learning process about the Tesla, continuing with configuration of the Tesla and the finishing with the purchasing of the Tesla. (Nurun, 2016)

In conclusion Tesla has a very successful marketing system when looking at their limited resources. With their very different approach they have been able to catch the attention of many people and become more and more popular.


Note: links above have not been correctly cited yet.

Tesla Motors (2016), About Tesla, found (21.09.16) from

- Hughed, Kapoor, Kelly, Needle, Pride, Williams. Introduction to business: Process and

Context. UK: Cengage Learning EMEA, 2016

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