A week ago, it was reasonable to say Tesla was finishing the year on a sour note. With reports of layoffs, a loss of momentum in China, crackdowns on its Autopilot driver assistance software, CEO Elon Musk’s disastrous ownership of Twitter, which cost both money and face, and long-promised products like the Cybertruck and Roadster going missing, Tesla appeared to be heading into 2023 with more challenges than it had ever faced.
That is quite a feat for a firm that has seen as much turmoil in a decade as many manufacturers have in a century, only to become the most valuable vehicle company on the planet.
Tesla’s stock price, now half of what it was in October, fell to its lowest level in years on Tuesday. This follows allegations that it might restrict output at its critical Shanghai facility in January for undisclosed reasons, despite the fact that COVID-19 surges and lockdowns in China are upending the auto sector. Even used Tesla prices appear to be falling right now. Meanwhile, Musk was tweeting about “corporate journalism” and being open to Twitter buying Substack on Tuesday.
Tesla’s past, present, and future are closely linked to Musk. Those who have a financial stake in Tesla—those who believe in Musk because he has provided value in the past—are increasingly and openly frustrated, pleading with the CEO to return his focus to the automobile firm whose stock price remains his primary source of wealth.
Tesla stock closed slightly higher on Wednesday at $112, but the damage had already been done.
Many observers feared this week that the declining price of the stock, which Musk used as collateral for loans to purchase Twitter, may drive him into a margin call position, sending the stock into a death spiral.
According to Reuters, Musk also issued an email to Tesla employees on Wednesday evening, telling them not to be “bothered by stock market madness” and that Tesla will be the most valuable firm on the planet in the long run.
Realistically, Tesla is going through a hard patch. It’s only a fleeting moment for the time being. Other automobile makers, not Twitter, will cause Tesla the most problems in 2023. Tesla is facing meaningful competition for the first time. Volkswagen, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, and nearly every other legacy automaker are vying for Tesla buyers. And Musk’s Extremely Online antics appear to be driving customers to competitors whose CEOs aren’t as keen to express issues over people’s pronouns on social media.
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