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On March 6, Elon Musk – best known as the founder of Tesla and SpaceX – tweeted to his 33 million followers that “the coronavirus panic is dumb.” The South African born entrepreneur has a history of being outspoken on the social media platform, tweeting “FREE AMERICA NOW,” on April 29.
While Tesla produces a much lower volume of vehicles compared to its market rivals, its stock market value is higher than most, a result of investors betting heavily on the company’s potential growth.
However, the company’s operations faced disruptions when their factory in Fremont, California, was ordered to halt production and furlough workers on March 24.
During a conference call on Wednesday, Musk said that the stay at home regulations posed a “serious risk” to the business.
“To say that they cannot leave their house and they will be arrested if they do, this is fascist. This is not democratic, this is not freedom. Give people back their goddamn freedom!” he added.
While there was a slight uptick in vehicle sales in the first half of this month, analysts state that the demand for vehicles has dropped as much as 80%, particularly in hard-hit areas.
Nevertheless, Tesla reported a profitable quarter, unlike its competitor, Ford, which saw first quarter losses of US$2 billion and expects an additional US$5 billion in losses in the current quarter.
Tesla expects to gradually increase production in its Fremont, California, and Shanghai, China, factories this quarter. Earlier this month, Tesla said its Model Y car was significantly ahead of schedule despite the outbreak. The company is producing the Model Y in higher numbers than any vehicle produced by the company to date.