Roger McNamee: Tesla’s ‘fantastic’ delivery numbers buy time but they’re not a long-term fix


Tesla‘s better-than-expected delivery numbers may buy the electric auto maker time, but they’re not a quick fix for more fundamental issues, Roger McNamee told CNBC on Wednesday.

“This quarter doesn’t solve anything, but it’s way better than what people were expecting,” said McNamee, a venture capitalist turned Silicon Valley critic.

Tesla shattered Wall Street’s expectations with its second quarter delivery and production results. The company said after the bell Tuesday that it delivered 95,200 vehicles, a 51.1% increase over its first quarter results.

Shares of Tesla rose about 5% Wednesday.

“As an analyst, I don’t think we know enough yet, but this is so much better than what we were thinking just a few weeks ago,” McNamee said in a “Squawk on the Street ” interview.

“These are obviously fantastic numbers,” said McNamee. “After the March quarter, there were legitimate concerns about demand and, essentially, the viability of Tesla.”

But McNamee warned the company needs to become better at the basics, such as manufacturing and forecasting, if it wants to “survive” as an auto company.

Tesla, led by CEO Elon Musk, has faced criticism after reporting a weak first quarter, where the company disappointed by delivering 63,000 vehicles, compared with the expected 76,000.

Since then, Wall Street has been cutting price targets. UBS last Friday cut its price target on Tesla stock by 20%, making it the third lowest Tesla target this year, according to FactSet.

The company has also seen high-profile departures. Most recently, on Monday, Lucid Motors hired Peter Hochholdinger, Tesla’s former production executive.

“These are really hard engineering businesses that require tremendous discipline,” McNamee said. “Tesla is getting there but it’s getting there in a way that causes investors a lot of heartburn.”

“It feels like it’s harder to get there than it should be,” he added, pointing to Musk’s run-ins with federal regulators over his tweets. However, the Tesla CEO has been largely laying low on Twitter after reaching a revised agreement in April with the Securities and Exchange Commission governing his social media use.

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