Elon Musk says Tesla has ‘bought some trucking companies’ — but leaders in the car-hauling industry say they haven’t heard squat

  • Elon Musk, CEO and cofounder of Tesla, said in a tweet on November 15 that Tesla has “acquired trucking capacity” to ensure that Model 3 units can be delivered by the end of 2018.
  • Musk detailed that Tesla “bought some trucking companies & secured contracts with major haulers.”
  • However, several leaders within the auto hauling industry told Business Insider that they had not heard of any Tesla acquisitions in the industry.

Bottlenecks in trucking have aggravated industries ranging from food to personal care to e-commerce this year.

Tesla has been hit, too. Elon Musk, CEO and cofounder of the electric carmaker, said in September that “delivery logistics hell” was delaying orders.

However, on November 15, Musk said on Twitter that Tesla just acquired trucking capacity” and “bought some trucking companies and secured contracts with major haulers.” He didn’t specify which companies were purchased or entered a contract, or how much equipment was acquired.

Now, customers have until November 30 to guarantee receipt of a Model 3 by the end of 2018, replacing the previous order-by date of October 15.

A Tesla spokesperson told Business Insider that the carmaker is focused on continually improving its delivery process, noting that its inventory levels are the lowest in the industry when measured in days of sales.

The spokesperson said, to maintain this level, Tesla has acquired trucking businesses, purchasing or leasing additional equipment, or forming contracts with hauling companies. These moves are all confidential, according to Tesla.

However, five executives in auto hauling trucking told Business Insider that they had not heard of Tesla purchasing a car hauler in the past few months, as Musk’s tweets describe.

“I haven’t heard any of our members being sold out or anyone else in the industry,” Guy Young, general manager of the Auto Haulers Association of America, told Business Insider.

“I have never been approached and I don’t know anybody who has been approached,” Don Carney, CEO of Wind Gap, Pennsylvania-based Brothers Auto Transport, which was founded in 1996, told Business Insider. Carney added that he is connected with “a couple hundred carriers across the country.”

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“I haven’t heard anything about Tesla and I follow as much as I can in this industry,” John Shank, cofounder of Shank Bros. Auto Transport, told Business Insider.

One auto hauler, who didn’t want his name or company printed, said he heard Tesla has purchased additional trucking equipment, but not a company.

Young said it’s not unusual to buy additional equipment – but not an entire company. “That’s generally what to do when you need to move cars,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Musk’s statements on Twitter have confused industry insiders. Musk attracted controversy when he said on Twitter in August that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private at $US420 a share.

Following that, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Elon Musk in September for making “false and misleading statements” about Tesla, a public company. Musk settled later that month.