Tesla is hoping to raise $1.8 billion
by selling "junk" bonds to private investors to fund production of its new mass market Model 3. Moody's believes the launch of the new car poses "considerable" credit risk for the company and has warned it could make or break Tesla. It also warned that a steep increase in production coupled with competition from General Motors and possible new players like Apple could leave it facing large cash requirements in 2018.
Even though Tesla
has a policy of not breaking its sales down by market, Moody's data published by CNBC shows that there is strong demand for its cars in the United States. In fact, it dominates its home market with both the Model S and X accounting for 45 percent of U.S. EV sales in the first six months of the year.
The outcome of Tesla's gamble on the Model 3 is probably more dependent on the U.S. appetite for electric cars in general rather than hot competition in the EV market. Next year, Tesla wants to build 500,000 Model 3s and sell them in a market where a total of 85,000 electric cars were sold in 2016. Moody's has predicted sales will hit 300,000 and said that such an outcome "would be an indication of both the market's acceptance of the Model 3 and Tesla's ability to produce it efficiently". 2018 will be a big year for Tesla and the American EV market in general.