By Nick Aziz
Friday, Oct 31st, 2008 @ 2:00 am
 
According to tipsters at Tesla Motors, the Detroit 3 aren't the only U.S. automakers strapped for cash. The electric car upstart is said to be down to just $9 million in funds. The dire situation was purportedly disclosed by Tesla executives at an emergency meeting earlier this week.



While the rumors have not been officially confirmed, the situation sounds very plausible given the recent layoffs and cost-cutting measures implemented at the company, including the delay of the Model S sedan.

The Silicon Valley darling has received deposits for roughly 1,200 Roadster models, ranging from $4,000 to $60,000, tipsters say. What's more, of those orders, between 100 and 200 of them have already been paid in full -- over $100,000 apiece -- one source claims. To date, only 50 cars have been delivered. All this means it's very likely the company is underwater on deposits.

So what might happen next? The obvious answer would be for Tesla to take more funding. After all, its $146 million to date is peanuts in automotive terms. But given the current financial climate in the United States and abroad, that won't be as easy as it once was.

PayPal founder Elon Musk has already dumped tens of millions of dollars of his personal $330 million fortune into the company, so it's certainly possible he will attempt to lead another round of funding. Alternatively, he might turn to an auto giant for a possible sale of the company as an exit strategy, though that's just idle speculation.

One thing's for sure -- with Musk now in position as Tesla CEO, he, along with the company's other major investors, are probably crafting a strategy as you read this. Stay tuned.