(excerpt)

As Tesla Inc. faces questions about whether demand for the Model 3 compact car is slowing, Chief Executive Elon Musk wants investors to focus on the auto maker's road much farther ahead: vehicles driving themselves in a robot-taxi fleet.

Mr. Musk is gathering investors Monday to reveal the electric-car maker's latest efforts to develop self-driving car technology and his strategy for deploying it. The presentation at its Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters is scheduled two days before Tesla reports quarterly financial results, which are expected to show a loss on slumping vehicle sales.

The week's twin billing encapsulates the polarizing nature of Tesla, which has sharply divided investors between skeptics and believers. Monday's event will likely showcase Mr. Musk as the exuberant salesman pitching his futuristic vision for Tesla. First-quarter results, on the other hand, are backward looking by definition and could prompt a defense of operational struggles.

Some investors praised Tesla's decision to highlight its driverless-car technology because they think it is a reason to value Tesla more highly than other auto makers. Those betting against the company said the investor day is a marketing stunt ahead of anticipated bad news.

"I've seen this movie before," said David Kudla, CEO of Mainstay Capital Management, a short seller of Tesla stock. "Whether it's launching the Tesla into space, whether it's some sort of product reveal or some grand announcement that comes a day or two before earnings." ...

 

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