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Elon Musk admits Tesla will have to turn a profit one day

Elon Musk tells Tesla's employees the company will need to be profitable to reach its goals.

Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk told employees on Tuesday the company will cut about 9 percent of its workforce, but he also said the electric car maker will need to be profitable to reach its goals.

"Given that Tesla has never made an annual profit in the almost 15 years since we have existed, profit is obviously not what motivates us," Musk wrote in the company email . "What drives us is our mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable, clean energy, but we will never achieve that mission unless we eventually demonstrate that we can be sustainably profitable. That is a valid and fair criticism of Tesla's history to date."

The company has suffered large losses each of the last three years. Tesla lost nearly $2 billion in 2017, lost $675 million in 2016 and lost $889 million in 2015.

But after many years of negative financial results, Musk in April predicted the company will be profitable in the second half of this year.

Multiple Wall Street firms including Morgan Stanley and Bernstein have expressed skepticism over the profitability of Tesla's Model 3 vehicle.

"We believe Model 3 gross margins and build quality are the key investor controversies; we remain skeptical on both fronts," Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi wrote in a note to clients in April.

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