Tesla insiders describe the current state of the company under CEO Elon Musk as a “Sh*t Show” according to recent reports.
The New York Post reports that inside sources from Tesla say that over the past few months the company has been in turmoil. From building a production line in a tent to produce 5,000 cars a week, 4,300 of which needed reworking, to Musk tweeting about having “funding secured” to take the company private, which has led to an SEC investigation over whether or not Musk was being truthful about this statement, the company has faced some tough times.
“Elon talks about being a socialist and doing good for mankind — unless you work for them,” says one employee. “It’s a sh*t show.” Another source stated that Musk is walking a “razor thin wire” when it comes to what he promises and what he can deliver. The source said that until recently, Tesla investors and employees genuinely believed in Musk’s vision even though he was, “saying things that don’t make sense, because he’s accomplished so much.”
One source said that staff meetings with Musk generally involve employees praising the CEO and thanking him for the privilege of attending the meeting. Musk also allegedly has a tendency to double down on ridiculous claims about the functionality of Tesla’s cars when faced with an issue: “He is very difficult to move off his stance. He’ll say, ‘The car can do X, Y or Z,’ And yes, that is possible — two decades from now,” the source said. “He bases his argument on the physically possible rather than the practical reality.”
Gordon Johnson, managing director of investment research firm Vertical Group, told the Washington Post in July: “You had a very big shareholder last week say they want him to focus on executing and stop with the tweets. What’s his angle? What is he doing? … He keeps promising things, and he keeps missing, and he’s not being held to task.”
A Tesla insider agreed with Johnson, noting that many of Musk’s claims and promises are in response to fans asking questions about the possibility of a new feature. According to the source, it’s not uncommon then for Musk to email the department that would be in charge of the feature and shortly afterward tweet back to the fan telling them the day that the feature will be available, even if the feature is entirely unrealistic.
Reports show that Tesla’s latest Model 3 vehicles are being delivered to customers with severe flaws and mechanical issues. Recent leaks from Tesla have revealed that only 14 percent of cars pass the company’s first inspection, the rest need rework to be considered ready for customers. Industry experts consider 80 percent to be a good target for automobile manufacturers. Based on the Business Insider report, not all of the cars requiring rework are actually properly fixed before being delivered to customers.
One Tesla employee was not surprised whatsoever by this report: “The Model 3s come in [to the showroom] scratched or damaged,” he says. “They don’t fit together properly. If you look at the panels, they’ll be mismatched. They won’t line up.” The employee’s claims are backed up by Wall Street analysts who deconstructed a Model 3 to find multiple issues including: “inconsistent gaps & flushness throughout the car, missing bolts, loose tolerances, and uneven & misaligned spot welds … The results confirm media reports of quality issues & are disappointing for a $49k car.”
One of Tesla’s sales representatives — referred to as “owner advisers” — stated that he left a job paying $150,000 to work at Tesla for $34,000 plus commission, believing Tesla’s sales pitch that they would make more money on commission at Tesla than at his previous salaried job. But the employee soon found that this wasn’t the case.
“I had a friend who killed it — her commission check was going to be $42,000,” he said. “They said, ‘Just kidding. You missed [your goal]. It’s going to be $4,000 for the year.’” Despite this, the employee says that workers are still encouraged to feel bad for CEO Elon Musk. Tesla Headquarters allegedly “literally sent out a picture of the couch and blanket that he sleeps on,” at the Tesla factory according the employee. “They were selling it to us like his team pitched in to buy him a new couch. He’s a f–king billionaire. He can afford a couch.”
The employee said that even though many others within the company are worried about the company failing, most are too scared to speak up for fear of losing their jobs in case Tesla suddenly becomes a success. “Elon emails us directly, saying, ‘We’re on top, we’re going to prove [everybody] wrong,’” the employee stated. “Everyone realizes it’s f–ked up, but everyone’s afraid of losing their job before Tesla ‘hits it big.’ It’s a mess.”