Sales and deliveries of Tesla vehicles are finally increasing, and if chief executive Elon Musk is to be believed, the company is on the verge of turning a profit. However, not everyone is convinced.
A group who call themselves the Shorty Air Force, many of whom are betting against the success of Tesla, have uncovered thousands of vehicles mysteriously parked at facilities across the United States, including Washington, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.
Armed with drones, the group has captured numerous images of what they claim is proof that Tesla isn’t being entirely truthful with its sales and delivery figures.
The New York Times reports that the Shorty Air Force was particularly active in July, when it first started to uncover hundreds upon hundreds of Tesla vehicles collecting dust. According to Tesla spokesman Dave Arnold, the facilities in question are nothing more than “logistics transit hubs.”
In mid-September, Musk admitted that the electric automaker had “gone from production hell to delivery logistics hell,” claiming that the company doesn’t have access to enough car haulers to fulfill all deliveries by the dates it has promised.
However, Guy Young from The Auto Haulers Association of America says he is unaware of any shortage of car haulers and says that there are no other car manufacturers in the U.S. struggling to ship new vehicles. Musk has gone as far as to say the automaker has started to build its own car haulers to ease the load, but did not divulge where the trailers are being built and if they will be approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Gartner auto analyst Mike Ramsey believes Tesla may have parked thousands of its vehicles across the country because it failed to set up an efficient way of delivering hundreds of vehicles a day as it simultaneously rushed to build 5,000 units a week.
“How can you not have this in place beforehand? It’s not like this is unexpected demand. They should have had logistics in place in advance,” he said.
Alternatively, Barclays Capital analyst Brian Johnson says Tesla may have built more rear-wheel drive Model 3s than it can sell. He claims that Tesla has recently been informing customers that it can deliver rear-wheel drive vehicles in as little as four weeks, whereas the all-wheel drive models will take up to 12 months.
In early September, Tesla went as far as to hold a “sales event” at its Fremont factory, where customers could browse through hundreds of Model 3s and pick one to buy. For a company that claims to be selling almost all of the cars it’s making, that’s a little strange.