The founder and CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk is mad again. Musk is no stranger to controversy and is known for being temperamental, as well as being innovative. This time around, he’s still upset about the government’s shelter-in-place orders which he believes are screwing up his business.
Tesla’s Last Controversy in March
In March, Musk was at the center of criticism because he was reluctant to close down the Teslas plant Fremont, California. By mid-March, other major automakers had already paused production in response to coronavirus concerns. Tesla, on the other hand, was still continuing its production in California but with a limited staff.
Musk deemed his company as an essential business and believed that people’s panic was more concerning than the virus itself. The government didn’t agree with him though and Musk had no other choice but to still temporarily close Tesla’s doors.
First Quarter Earnings Call Overshadowed by Expletives
Despite the production shutdowns in the U.S. and in China, Tesla delivered surprising Q1 2020 profits. The automaker generated $5.99 billion in revenue as well as a little profit of $0.09 per share. This is Tesla’s third running quarterly profit, which is pretty remarkable amid the coronavirus crisis.
Instead of letting the return of an actual profit be the focus of the earnings call yesterday, Musk took the opportunity to go on a rant and stated that the government’s shelter-in-place orders are unconstitutional.
“I would call it forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights, that’s my opinion,” Musk said on the call.
After that, the call progressively got worse from there. Musk dropped the f-bomb and other expletives, and other off the cuff comments. Musk believes that people in America don’t have any freedom right now and that people will be further outraged by stay-at-home orders. He’s afraid that Tesla won’t be able to weather this storm, as well as smaller companies.
Also in March, Musk predicted that coronavirus cases would wind down to zero by the end of April and that obviously has not been the case. There are now over a million cases in the U.S.
Tesla’s Future and COVID-19
Before COVID-19 was considered a pandemic, Musk was able to boost $2 billion in stock which also helped their bottom line in the first quarter. It’s hard to predict the automaker’s second-quarter earnings given the health crisis and current economic disruptions. Either way, the company is expected to take a hit.
Along with its car production at a pause, its battery facilities in Reno, Nevada, and Buffalo, New York have also ceased production. Tesla recently actioned pay reductions, furloughs, and let go of nonessential contractors.
Tesla also confirmed that production of ts Cybertruck has been postponed till 2021, two years behind its previously expected schedule. The automaker will also refocus on the development of a new plant in Germany and the production of the Model Y at its Shangai Gigafactory.