'Paranoid' Musk’s bizarre email to employees
TESLA boss Elon Musk sent an email to workers this week accusing a rogue employee of "extensive and damaging sabotage" at the electric carmaker.
The sabotage included making code changes to the company's operation system under false usernames "and exporting large amounts of highly sensitive Tesla data to unknown third parties," according to the email obtained and verified by US broadcaster CNBC reports.
Musk claimed the employee conducted the sabotage because "he wanted a promotion that he did not receive." "However, there may be considerably more to this situation than meets the eye, so the investigation will continue in depth this week," the 46-year-old said. "We need to figure out if he was acting alone or with others at Tesla and if he was working with any outside organisations."
It comes as Musk is facing down a growing and emboldened bunch of Tesla sceptics who have sold short the company's stock, betting on its value sliding. The conspiratorial note to employees was at paints to point out the company's naysayers.
"As you know, there are a long list of organisations that want Tesla to die," he added.
In a second email Musk said there had been a fire at the company's production line, describing it as "a strange incident that was hard to explain." Musk hinted that the incident could have been deliberate: "Could just be a random event, but as Andy Grove said, 'Only the paranoid survive.'"
Much of the trepidation from investors and company sceptics has been due to the fact that Tesla has consistently missed production targets for its Model 3, a cheaper vehicle that analysts see as crucial to the company's long-term profitability and survival.
The company has been trying to hit a 5000 per week production target of its Model 3 sedans after facing initial production delays and problems.
Earlier this month, Musk said the carmaker should achieve its target by the end of June.
Amazing work by Tesla team. Built entire new general assembly line in 3 weeks w minimal resources. Love u guys so much! Pic of 1st Model 3 dual motor performance coming off the line … pic.twitter.com/Xr55P3fmGd— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 16 June 2018
When it comes to Tesla's balance sheet, investors have for years endured millions of dollars in short-term losses in hopes of a long-term pay-off. They might have even been able to stomach the $A10 million that Tesla burns through each day but pressure is clearly mounting on the billionaire entrepreneur at the helm of the company.
Last week Tesla announced it will cut about nine per cent of its employees in a bid to achieve profitability. In an email explaining the cuts to employees, later tweeted by Musk, the Tesla CEO said it would not affect Model 3 production targets.
"These cuts were almost entirely made from our salaried population and no production associates were included, so this will not affect our ability to reach Model 3 production targets in the coming months."
On Tuesday, it was reported a further 500 employees would be let go from its Californian plant and its Palo Alto headquarters.
Needed another general assembly line to reach 5k/week Model 3 production. A new building was impossible, so we built a giant tent in 2 weeks. Tesla team kfa!! Gah, love them so much ♥️🚘💫— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 19 June 2018