- Joe Skipper/Reuters
- Tesla has faced a slew of negative headlines over the past week.
- Analysts pointed to its tendency to burn through cash as well as its struggle to meet its production targets.
- Tesla CEO Elon Musk poked fun at the negativity with an April Fools’ Day tweet storm joking that Tesla had gone bankrupt.
Last Wednesday, the rating agency Moody’s downgraded Tesla‘s credit rating from B2 to B3, due to the company’s well-documented struggles to hit its production goals for its first mass-market vehicle, the Model 3 sedan.
After the downgrade, analysts and media outlets highlighted the company’s tendency to burn through cash quickly without bringing in enough revenue to compensate – and the potential for that trend to eventually lead to bankruptcy.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded to that criticism in an April Fools’ Day Twitter thread, in which he joked about Tesla’s financial prospects in the style of a newspaper story.
“Tesla Goes Bankrupt Palo Alto, California, April 1, 2018 — Despite intense efforts to raise money, including a last-ditch mass sale of Easter Eggs, we are sad to report that Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt. So bankrupt, you can’t believe it,” Musk wrote.
“There are many chapters of bankruptcy and, as critics so rightly pointed out, Tesla has them *all*, including Chapter 14 and a half (the worst one).”
Musk ended the thread with a photo himself pretending to be passed out against a Tesla vehicle covered by a cardboard sign reading “Bankwupt!”
Elon was found passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by "Teslaquilla" bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks.
This is not a forward-looking statement, because, obviously, what's the point?
Happy New Month! pic.twitter.com/YcouvFz6Y1
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 1, 2018
“Elon was found passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by ‘Teslaquilla’ bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks. This is not a forward-looking statement, because, obviously, what’s the point? Happy New Month!” he wrote.
Since the Model 3 launched in July, Tesla has fallen well short of Musk’s production goals for the vehicle. He said the company would produce 20,000 Model 3 vehicles per month by the end of 2017, but the company produced only 2,425 Model 3s in the entire fourth quarter.
The company revised its production goals for the vehicle to 2,500 units by the end of March and 5,000 units by the end of June.
Tesla will reveal how close it came to that first goal when it reports its first-quarter deliveries this week.
A prior version of this story said Tesla will report first-quarter deliveries in May. The company will release its first-quarter financial report in May, but is expected to report delivery numbers this week.