In November 2022 Elon Musk was struck by a staggering loss of $100 billion due to the plummeting price of Tesla stocks. As a prominent figure in the business world, the substantial financial setback attracted attention and speculation from the media, investors, and the general public.
It was not a good year for the entrepreneur who according to Guinness World Records lost between $180 billion and $200 billion from November 2021 to January 2023.
Guinness noted that although “the exact figure [of Musk’s loss] is almost impossible to ascertain,” with some outlets estimating that he lost more than $200 billion, the Twitter owner demolished the previous record: a $58.6 billion loss by Japanese investor Masayoshi Son in 2000.
Despite losing $100 billion of personal wealth from Tesla stocks, Elon Musk remained at the time the world’s richest person due in part to his holdings in other companies, such as SpaceX and Neuralink.
Elon Musk’s wealth shrinks
But his fortune went from about $320 billion in 2021 to its current level of about $138 billion making him the second-richest person in the world after Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of LVMH Moet Hennessy – Louis Vuitton.
Musk wasn’t the only billionaire whose fortune took a hit in 2022. American billionaires collectively lost $660 billion last year, CNBC reported.
His health decline spared Amazon founder Jeff Bezos from taking the Guinness World Record. Bezos’s $80 billion loss in 2022 would have firmly given him the “largest loss” title were it not for Musk.
Fellow tech CEO Mark Zuckerberg also broke Masayoshi Son’s record with his $78 billion loss.
Despite the setback, Musk remains a highly influential figure in the business world. He is the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and Neuralink, and he is widely considered to be one of the most innovative and visionary entrepreneurs of our time.
Tesla’s and Elon Musk’s fortunes ahead
Tesla’s fortunes have improved in 2023 but the omens are not particularly bright. The company produced over 1.3 million vehicles in 2023, a 47% increase from 2022. This was due in part to the ramp-up of production at Tesla’s new factories in Austin, Texas, and Berlin, Germany.
However, under increasing pressure from new competition, Tesla spent the past year slashing the average price of its models by roughly 25%. The Model 3 fell from $48,000 to $44,380. The luxury Model S, meanwhile, plunged from a high of $130,000 to $96,380.
“I can’t think of another point in the history of automotive when a brand that wasn’t going out of business cut prices 20% a year,” Mark Schirmer, the director of communications at the research firm Cox Automotive, told Business Insider.
But that’s not what’s happening. Lower prices are not translating into higher sales. The number of cars Tesla delivered to customers in the third quarter actually declined. Revenue is dropping, and the company’s once fat profit margins are getting squeezed — down to 17.9% in the third quarter, compared with 25.1% a year ago.
Competitors aren’t being driven out of business, either. Once totally dominant in the EV space, Tesla’s share of the US market has fallen from 62% at the beginning of the year to only 50% today, Business Insider reports.