Musk Tweets Another Tesla Forecast in Midst of Talks With SEC





(Bloomberg) -- Elon Musk, already in hot water over his Twitter use, posted another Tesla Inc. production forecast reminiscent of the one that landed him before a federal judge earlier this month.

Musk wrote Sunday that Tesla will make more than 500,000 cars in the next 12 months. A similar tweet sent almost two months ago in which Musk said the company would build half a million vehicles in 2019 led the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to argue he was in contempt of a settlement reached with the regulator last year.

The latest forecast, given as a seemingly innocuous aside in a discussion about the future value of Tesla vehicles, nonetheless came as Musk's lawyers are negotiating with the SEC over an agreement that put controls on the billionaire's tweeting. A U.S. judge gave the two sides until April 18 to meet for at least an hour and resolve their differences. If they can't, she'll rule whether Musk is in contempt.

The legal tussle for Musk, 47, served as a distraction amid a record decline in deliveries for Tesla during the first quarter. Concerns about demand for Tesla's vehicles escalated last week after the Nikkei reported the company and its partner Panasonic Corp. were freezing plans to expand capacity at the battery factory they share in Nevada.

Musk on Saturday disputed reports that Panasonic had boosted annualized battery cell production capacity at the plant to 35 gigawatt hours, saying the company's lines were only at 24 gigawatt hours and have been constraining output of Tesla's Model 3 sedan.

Both the Panasonic and the next-12-months production tweets are noteworthy in light of the settlement that sprang from Musk tweeting in August of last year about trying to take Tesla private. The SEC accused the chief executive officer of securities fraud, and Musk settled. He agreed to pay $20 million, step down as chairman and seek pre-approval from an in-house securities lawyer before tweeting information material to the electric-car maker.

Musk's legal team has argued that he retained discretion to determine whether he was sending out material information or not, and that his Feb. 19 post about Tesla's 2019 production was consistent with comments he made weeks earlier on an earnings call.

In an April 4 hearing where Musk appeared, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan questioned the specifics of the CEO's settlement with the SEC and told the two sides to rework the language of their agreement.

"Take a deep breath, put your reasonableness pants on and work this out," Nathan said. She wrote in an order the next day that if Musk is held in contempt, the court will allow further briefings on sanctions. The SEC said at the hearing that the remedies it was seeking included a series of escalating fines for future violations, and monthly reporting on Musk's communications.

--With assistance from Kevin Miller.

To contact the reporters on this story: Craig Trudell in New York at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net;Molly Kissler in New York at mkissler@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lauren Berry at lberry4@bloomberg.net, Virginia Van Natta

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Second Trump Official Defies Subpoena From Democrats in Congress
Second Trump Official Defies Subpoena From Democrats in Congress

John Gore, the principal deputy attorney general for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, will not appear for a deposition before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee that was scheduled for Thursday, according to a letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd dated Wednesday. Ross says he decided to add the question in December 2017 after he learned that the Justice Department might want it included. President Donald Trump has made it clear he doesn't want his subordinates to respond to congressional requests he dismisses as politically motivated.

Trump Erroneously Claims U.S. Supreme Court Role in Impeachment
Trump Erroneously Claims U.S. Supreme Court Role in Impeachment

"If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court," Trump said Wednesday on Twitter, in his latest criticism of reaction to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's findings on Russian meddling in the 2016 election. "There no 'High Crimes and Misdemeanors,' there are no Crimes by me at all," he asserted in a subsequent Twitter posting.

Tesla CEO plans to hand the car keys to robots next year
Tesla CEO plans to hand the car keys to robots next year

Tesla CEO Elon Musk expects to start converting the company's electric cars into fully self-driving vehicles next year as part of an audacious plan to create a network of robotic taxis to compete against Uber and other ride-hailing services. The vision sketched out Monday during an event at Tesla

Tesla says robotaxis coming to U.S. roads next year, slams rivals
Tesla says robotaxis coming to U.S. roads next year, slams rivals' use of Lidar

Chief Executive Elon Musk said Tesla Inc robotaxis with no human drivers would be available in some U.S. markets next year, continuing a habit of bold pronouncements that have excited many investors while often missing deadlines. Central to this promise is a new microchip for self-driving vehicles unveiled

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Economy

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.