Tesla’s outspoken founder and CEO Elon Musk Wednesday called sweeping U.S. stay-at-home bans to curtail the coronavirus outbreak “fascist” as the electric car manufacturer posted its third quarterly profit in a row.
His remarks overshadowed an otherwise profitable quarter that took many investors abruptly as auto manufacturer peers had been struck by a slump in consumer demand and compelled manufacturing unit shutdowns.
Tesla’s successful quarter comes a day after Detroit-based competitor Ford Motor posted a $2 billion first-quarter loss and forecast losing another $5 billion in the current quarter as the coronavirus pandemic hits demand.
General Motors Monday canceled its dividend and share buybacks and will report earnings on May 6.
Tesla produces just a fraction of the cars of its competitors but has a much bigger stock market value on expectations of tremendous development.
On the largest disruptions to Tesla has been the federal government-ordered shutdown of its factory in Fremont, California, which sits idle since March 24 with remain-at-home directives operating till at least May 31.
On a conference call Wednesday, Musk mentioned he didn’t know when Tesla could resume manufacturing in California and called the stay-at-home state order a “serious danger” to the business.
Musk tweeted on March 6 that “the coronavirus panic is dumb” but later offered to provide hospitals with free ventilators.