What goes down Musk go up, according to Tesla’s third law of Twitter-based motion.
On Thursday, Elon Musk’s net worth plunged by $768m (£588m) after Tesla unveiled its ugly new Cybertruck. “It is literally bulletproof to a 9mm handgun,” Musk proudly announced of the futuristic take on a pickup truck. The company’s design chief then attempted to figuratively demonstrate this by throwing a ball at the car’s “shatterproof” windows. The windows literally shattered and Tesla stock dropped more than 6%.
The Cybertruck launch debacle doesn’t appear to have done lasting damage to the vehicle’s image. On Saturday, Musk jubilantly tweeted to his 29.6 million followers that there had been “146k Cybertruck orders so far … with no advertising”. On Sunday, he tweeted: “200K.” And on Monday, Tesla stock rose 4% and Musk’s net worth significantly recovered.
The Cybertrucks retail at between $39,000 and $76,900. If Tesla had actually sold 200,000 of them in 72 hours, it would have been pretty incredible. But that 200,000 figure refers to a fully refundable $100 deposit; Tesla won’t start manufacturing the apocalypse-chic vehicle until late 2021. I’m willing to eat a hatchback if even 20% of those pre-orders translate into actual sales. It’s far more likely that the majority of people who put down a deposit did so in order to post a boastful and/or jokey screenshot of their “purchase” on social media.
Musk has quite the track record of tweeting misleading statements that drive Tesla stock up. Last year, Musk inaccurately tweeted that he was considering taking the company private at $420 a share and had secured funding; the stock subsequently rose by as much as 13.3%. The US Securities and Exchange Commission sued Musk for the “false and misleading” tweet; eventually he promised to be a good boy and settled. While this Cybertruck incident may not be entirely the same, it still demonstrates that Musk’s online activity can have a somewhat unsettling effect on real world markets.
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