Tesla CEO Elon Musk blasted a journalist on Twitter Tuesday for publishing a report suggesting the Silicon Valley billionaire is struggling to mass produce the supposedly inexpensive Model 3.
Musk went after tech reporter Amir Efrati for reporting that the Tesla CEO will now personally oversee production on the vehicle as the company continues to miss crucial delivery marks. He took issue with Efrati’s characterization of the news.
“Can’t believe you’re even writing about this,” Musk wrote of Efrati’s report, which also noted that engineering executive Doug Field would no longer be managing production. “My job as a CEO is to focus on what’s most critical, which is currently Model 3 production.”
Efrati, who writes for Silicon Valley-based outlet The Information, defended his reporting after several of Musk’s Twitter followers called the report misinformation.”Go ask anybody currently at or previously at Tesla whether it’s a ‘non-story,'” he told one Musk follower who criticized the story.
Can’t believe you’re even writing about this. My job as CEO is to focus on what’s most critical, which is currently Model 3 production. Doug, who I regard as one of the world’s most talented engineering execs, is focused on vehicle engineering.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 2, 2018
Tesla has absorbed a series of body blows thanks to several ill-timed events. The company performed a voluntary recall of the Model S over “excessive corrosion in the power steering bolts, though only in very cold climates,” according to an email customers received in March.
The issue has not led to any accidents or injuries and doesn’t impact the Model X sport utility vehicle or the more affordable Model 3. The recall affects 123,000 vehicles around the world — done out of precaution, Tesla said in the email. The recall comes after Tesla’s stock downgraded to near junk status.
Moody’s dropped Tesla’s credit rating March 30 and changed the company’s outlook to negative as the fledgling Model 3’s production dwindles while the automaker’s financial situation grows dim. Tesla will need to raise more money in the near future to meet its cash needs, the credit rating agency claimed.
The electric car company initially planned to produce 5,000 Model 3 sedans a week by the end of 2017, but that number was quickly revised as the inexpensive vehicle’s production began faltering.
Tesla is currently making only 975 Model 3s a week — well short of the 2,500-unit rate target by the end of this quarter. Concern is growing over the Silicon Valley company’s poor production performance.
It managed to build a mere 260 Model 3s between July and September of 2017. That number is well below the 1,500 Tesla promised before the end of the fourth quarter of said year. Total orders for the wallet-friendly vehicle tumbled from a high of 518,000 to 455,000.