DOJ Is Reportedly Investigating Tesla’s Claims About Its Model 3 Production

Illustration for article titled DOJ Is Reportedly Investigating Tesla’s Claims About Its Model 3 Production
Photo: David Zalubowski (AP)

Just as the dust looked to be settling for Elon Musk’s Tesla, it appears the company has another investigation on its hands. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into whether the electric car company misled investors about its production goals for the Model 3, citing sources familiar with the matter.

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A Tesla spokesperson told Gizmodo in a statement that it received a “voluntary request for documents from the Department of Justice about its public guidance for the Model 3 ramp” earlier this year. But Tesla said it has not received any additional document requests, a subpoena, or a request for testimony from the DOJ about its public guidance for Model 3 production “for months.”

The Journal reported that the criminal investigation is looking into production claims Tesla made starting in 2017. Specifically, its sources said investigators are “homing in on whether the company made projections about its Model 3 production knowing it would be impossible to meet the goals.” While the DOJ probe was initially reported in September, the nature of the investigation was not immediately known.

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The Tesla spokesperson said that the company was “transparent” about its ambitious Model 3 production goals and “about how difficult it would be, openly explaining that we would only be able to go as fast as our least lucky or least successful supplier, and that we were entering ‘production hell.’” The company attributed the delay of its 5,000 unit-per-week production ramp to “difficulties that we did not foresee.”

“Tesla’s philosophy has always been to set truthful targets—not sandbagged targets that we would definitely exceed and not unrealistic targets that we could never meet,” the company added.

The report follows news just weeks ago that Musk settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission over allegations that the Tesla CEO committed fraud when he tweeted that he had secured funding to take the company private. In addition to both Musk and Tesla agreeing to pay a combined $40 million, Musk was also required to step down as Tesla’s chairman for at least three years.

[Wall Street Journal]

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DISCUSSION

dnapl
Dense non aqueous phase liquid

Tesla automotive will be fine. Musk will be fine. Early and even later adaptors, too. The only worry I have left is when the business turns commonplace and there’s lots and lots of cars out on the road being driven by casual buyers whose enthusiasm about cars is limited to points A to B and back again. Then Tesla becomes an automotive company with P/E ratios in the teens. Tesla’s P/E is meaningless, infinite, irrational, or around 0.0.

I’d worry more about Tesla solar roof tiles. Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo was built by the kindness of New York State taxpayers. Cuomo et al (those not in jail) need to show a return on investment to NYS taxpayers sooner than never before getting run out of Albany. Musk announced this week that deployment of PV roof tiles is going into the future yet again. There’s limits to pulling ideas out your ass.

OK dumb dot connecting ahead so read with caution. Exxon is being sued for purportedly duping shareholders and investors about its product(s) causing climate change. The entire business model of America finance is that there’s a sucker born every minute. Given that, I don’t think Tesla automotive has much to worry about since it has begun to perform as loosely stated. Same with shareholders of Exxon. The fine lines on prospectuses basically state that investor must realize shit can go down at anytime and nobody is ever all that truthful