Tesla's Elon Musk rails against government coronavirus mandates

Tesla's Elon Musk rails against government coronavirus mandates

Tesla's Elon Musk rails against government coronavirus mandates

In an astonishing, expletive-laden tirade, Tesla founder Elon Musk has lashed out at the Californian and USA governments, accusing it of imprisoning citizens in the face of the coronavirus outbreak that is sweeping the country.

"Despite global operational challenges, we were able to achieve our best first quarter for both production and deliveries".

He told investors: "Frankly I would call it forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights...that's my opinion".

The stay-home order may force Tesla to dial back its forecast to produce more than 500,000 vehicles in 2020.

Tesla's stock price has largely shrugged off the broader market rout triggered by the pandemic, leaving Musk on the brink of the massive incentive package first approved by shareholders in March 2018.

Although some "die hards" will stick with the brand, Tesla faces problems including cheaper gas and a recession that is likely to cut into pocketbooks, said Karl Brauer, an auto industry analyst who serves as executive publisher at Cox Automotive.

In addition, "One highlight in particular should have bulls salivating - Tesla says that the Model 3 cars it produces in its Shanghai Gigafactory are "approaching" the profitability of USA -made models, indicating in part that the Chinese factory is running efficiently after just a few months".

By continuing to build up the shares, bulls are overlooking uncertainty about how soon the company will be able to resume production at its sole US vehicle-assembly plant in Fremont, California, or how eager consumers will be to purchase Tesla cars once health orders are loosened and lifted. It also moved deliveries of its new electric semi from this year to next. "At Gigifactory Shanghai, further volume growth resulted in a material improvement in margins of locally made Model 3 vehicles".

Shares of the company were up more than 9% at $873 in extended trade.

"As a basis for comparison, the risk of death from C19 is *vastly* less than the risk of death from driving your vehicle home", Musk, whose Teslas are equipped with what the company calls a bioweapon defence mode, wrote to SpaceX employees in early March. Six Bay Area counties jointly extended the shelter-in-place orders affecting San Francisco, Fremont, and other cities to 31 May, with only some minor relaxing of restrictions.

Chief Financial Officer Zach Kirkhorn said on the call that buying the self-driving feature upfront and paying it off as part of a loan on the vehicle would be "the least expensive plan", but added that a subscription model would help the company onboard customers who don't go that route.

But the company closed the Fremont plant in late March, following a standoff between Musk and state officials.

Tesla's production ramp up at its new Shanghai gigafactory is also taking shape.

Musk called the state stay-at-home orders a "serious risk" to business. "But saying they can't leave their house and that they will be arrested if they do - that's fascist".

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