Shares of Tesla Inc. fell more than 7 percent in afternoon trading on Saturday as the electric-car maker’s volatile CEO, Elon Musk, tweeted a seemingly taunting reference to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Tesla’s stock dropped as low as $291.91 after Musk tweeted on Saturday: “No reason why we can’t raise capital even higher if needed and still accelerate gross margin to 20%.”
The tweet came after Musk and fellow chief operating officer, Gaby Toledano, clashed with Musk’s cousin over how to improve Tesla’s production of Model 3 sedans, CNBC reported Friday.
About 12 hours later, Musk posted more bullish news about the company, tweeting that the company would be able to “be profitable and cash flow positive even if Q2 demand falls 40%.” He also posted a clip of himself on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, saying that Musk “makes more money than anyone at Goldman Sachs.”
On Wednesday, Tesla said it expected its second-quarter production of Model 3 sedans to be about 28,000, but Musk said the figure could be as low as 18,000.
Tesla shares have been under heavy pressure in recent weeks as the company’s inability to consistently ramp up production and launch of Model 3 sedans was causing the company’s production and its cash flow to decline. Musk had previously said he expected production of 30,000 Model 3 cars during the second quarter.
About 400,000 Tesla shares changed hands on Friday, a record.
Despite the dire warning Musk gave on Friday, analysts said there was no reason for the company to raise capital at this time, though, citing Tesla’s positive cash flow.
Tesla has nearly $12 billion in cash and has never asked investors for money.
On Wednesday, a trio of Wall Street analysts sent a letter to Tesla’s board calling for Musk to step down as chairman, a position that Musk holds as well as chief executive.
Tesla’s board was considering an updated shareholder proposal to remove Musk from his current roles in March, but the board quickly asked the shareholders to consider making their proposal to split up the roles at another meeting.
The board said at that time that Musk’s “leadership creates significant risks that could materially harm the company and its shareholders.”
“Musk’s management style and propensity to speak in public places has created a great deal of distraction,” Tesla said in its letter to shareholders.
Tesla disclosed in a regulatory filing Thursday that Musk had met with the Securities and Exchange Commission about an investigative committee that is examining tweets Musk made on Aug. 7 about “funding secured” for a possible buyout of the company. The SEC has been investigating Musk’s tweets, as well as a second instance where Musk said a take-private deal had been “secured.”