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When asked whether the company has requested refunds from suppliers, a Tesla spokesman referred to a company statement, which said Tesla had asked fewer than 10 suppliers for a reduction in total spending on projects that started in 2016 and are not complete.

The memo was sent by a Tesla global supply manager and described the monetary request as "essential to Tesla's continued operation", and "characterized it as an investment in the vehicle company" according to the Journal.

Still, industry analysts said it is unusual for automakers to request refunds for two previous years, as Tesla has demanded.

Becoming cash-flow positive is the primary goal of Chief Executive, Elon Musk, who said he wants to avoid raising additional cash, and turn a profit in the second half of the year.

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"What stuck out to us as a negative is that Tesla's memo reportedly described the request as essential to the company's continued operation", Citi Investment Research analyst Itay Michaeli wrote in a note to clients.

Tesla is due to report second-quarter earnings after the stock market closes on August 1.

A tweet from co-founder Elon Musk has confirmed this.

Tesla's stock was down 5.7pc to $295.64 (€252.70) at one stage yesterday in NY.

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In the memo to suppliers last week, Tesla asked for a meaningful amount of money to help it become profitable. The firm is less focused on one-time reductions for this quarter as it is on reaching a "more sustainable long-term cost basis".

Tesla has since commented on the WSJ story, telling Reuters that it has contacted a small number of suppliers as part of a broader effort to secure price cuts. Musk has pushed back on naysayers, arguing that the company will be profitable this quarter and next.

This development comes at a critical time as the company is struggling to boost production of its first mainstream model, the Model 3.

As pressure mounted to ramp up Model 3 production, Musk set up a tent outside Tesla's plant in Fremont, California.

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While it may be a bad sign, going after suppliers is just the latest thing Tesla is doing to get cash and get the Model 3 to Tesla's eager buyers.