“WE ARE sad to report that Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt.” So tweeted Elon Musk, boss of the electric-car company, on April 1st. He even posted a picture of himself supposedly drunk and inconsolable as proof. It was meant as an April Fool’s Day joke, but the gag backfired. It is uncomfortably close to the truth. America’s leading manufacturer of electric vehicles is under pressure. Mr Musk is fighting battles on many fronts and they all exacerbate his main threat: a financial squeeze that could eventually push Tesla over the edge.
Even Tesla’s shareholders, who are rarely put off by bad news, are jittery. Its shares have fallen by 16% since the end of February, most steeply after a Tesla using the firm’s Autopilot software crashed into a roadside barrier in California on March 23rd, killing the driver and raising questions about the safety of its system for semi-autonomous driving. The crash is being investigated by the authorities.
The pile-up of woes...Continue reading