Tesla Needs to Stop Acting Like a Startup

Graphic of Tesla's logo.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission asked a judge on Monday to hold Elon Musk in contempt for violating a settlement in yet another blunder for Tesla.

In the complaint, the SEC alleges that Musk broke his agreement with them – which required him to get company approval for media posts that could be material for investors – by tweeting out an inaccurate estimate of future vehicle production.

On February 19, Musk tweeted that the electric vehicle company would make around half a million cars this year, only to backtrack later and say that 2019 production would reach 400,000 cars.

But in what might seem like a big deal to other companies, this is just the most recent setback for Tesla. Last week Consumer Reports said they could no longer recommend Tesla’s Model 3 due to reliability issues.

The litany of issues that Tesla has faced is more suited for a startup and not a $51-billion company. Weak apologies by Musk and the company aren’t going to cut it at this point.  

Musk’s conduct is drawing attention and focus away from the company’s mission. Investors in the company and employees should be concerned about Musk’s behavior, especially since it’s not a one-off situation. If he continues down this path, the consequences will only continue to get more serious.  

Musk needs to delete his Twitter account and focus on ramping up Model 3 production, while fixing the cars’ reliability issues. There’s no need for him to be wasting time taunting the SEC on Twitter.

It’s time for Musk – and Tesla – to grow up.