FBI Now Probing Lofty Tesla Production Promises

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
fbi now probing lofty tesla production promises

Given that Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter account now has third-party oversight, it’s unlikely we’ll see angry missives about the Fun-Busting Interrogators this weekend. However, that won’t stop the FBI from probing Musk’s past production promises for the Model 3 sedan.

As part of an ongoing Department of Justice investigation that kicked off after Musk’s fateful August 7th “funding secured” tweet, the FBI wants to know if the automaker misled investors via production promises that didn’t pan out.

News of the expanded probe comes by way of a Wall Street Journal report, citing unnamed sources. Tesla initially said it planned to reach a 5,000-vehicles-per-week production target for its Model 3 sedan by the end of 2017. That didn’t happen, nor did the pushed-back target date of end-of-March, 2018. It was only in the week leading up to the end of June that the company pushed out enough vehicles to say it had reached its goal — though the average weekly rate, to this day, remains below that marker.

“We have not received a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process, and there have been no additional document requests about this from the Department of Justice for months,” a Tesla spokesperson told the publication.

However, the WSJ reported that several Tesla employees have received subpoenas, as well as requests for information. The automaker has already submitted info to the DOJ related to Musk’s public pronouncements regarding production figures.

After landing in hot water with the feds over Musk’s failed go-private gambit (and the hasty tweet that preceded it), Tesla and its CEO were forced to settle with the Securities and Exchange Commission after the regulator slapped the company with a fraud lawsuit. Tesla and Musk were ordered to pay $20 million each, with Musk booted from the chairman’s seat for a period of three years.

At the time, Musk blamed the slow ramp-up of Model 3 production on a variety of factors, mainly supply issues. However, in order to achieve one-off weekly rates of 5,000 vehicles, the company’s Fremont, California assembly plant had to construct a new production line inside an outdoor, tent-like structure. The tent’s existence was only revealed in June.

[Image: Elon Musk/ Twitter]

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Oct 28, 2018

    Will the Feds investigate Buick for over promising sales of the Cascada? Isn't it better to have insatiable demand and meet it late, than no demand with unsold cars sitting around for two model years?

  • TimK TimK on Oct 28, 2018

    The investigation will not result in any criminal indictments. It will however supply enough ammunition so the board can fire Elon and sell/merge the company before it implodes.

  • Art Vandelay Best? PCH from Ventura to somewhere near Lompoc. Most Famous? Route Irish
  • GT Ross The black wheel fad cannot die soon enough for me.
  • Brett Woods My 4-Runner had a manual with the 4-cylinder. It was acceptable but not really fun. I have thought before that auto with a six cylinder would have been smoother, more comfortable, and need less maintenance. Ditto my 4 banger manual Japanese pick-up. Nowhere near as nice as a GM with auto and six cylinders that I tried a bit later. Drove with a U.S. buddy who got one of the first C8s. He said he didn't even consider a manual. There was an article about how fewer than ten percent of buyers optioned a manual in the U.S. when they were available. Visited my English cousin who lived in a hilly suburb and she had a manual Range Rover and said she never even considered an automatic. That's culture for you.  Miata, Boxster, Mustang, Corvette and Camaro; I only want manual but I can see both sides of the argument for a Mustang, Camaro or Challenger. Once you get past a certain size and weight, cruising with automatic is a better dynamic. A dual clutch automatic is smoother, faster, probably more reliable, and still allows you to select and hold a gear. When you get these vehicles with a high performance envelope, dual-clutch automatic is what brings home the numbers. 
  • ToolGuy 2019 had better comments than 2023 😉
  • Inside Looking Out In June 1973, Leonid Brezhnev arrived in Washington for his second summit meeting with President Richard Nixon. Knowing of the Soviet leader’s fondness for luxury automobiles, Nixon gave him a shiny Lincoln Continental. Brezhnev was delighted with the present and insisted on taking a spin around Camp David, speeding through turns while the president nervously asked him to slow down. https://academic.oup.com/dh/article-abstract/42/4/548/5063004