- Elon Musk engaged in a testy Twitter exchange with a reporter over a story about a manufacturing shakeup at Tesla.
- The report said that Musk had assumed control of Model 3 production from the executive who had been leading it.
- Tesla confirmed that the executive, Doug Fields, was still with the company.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has jumped into the middle of a report from The Information that a management shakeup is underway at the carmaker as it struggles to meet production targets for its Model 3 sedan.
On Monday, The Information’s Amir Efrati published a story in which unnamed sources said that Musk had personally assumed control of Model 3 production, relieving engineering vice-president Doug Fields of the responsibility and putting himself back in charge of the efforts of Peter Hochholdinger, a former Audi executive whom Tesla hired in 2016 to ramp up its manufacturing expertise.
Musk wasted little time in rebuking Efrati’s tweet about his story.
“Can’t believe you’re even writing about this,” Musk wrote. “My job as CEO is to focus on what’s most critical, which is currently Model 3 production. Doug, who I regard as one of the world’s most talented engineering execs, is focused on vehicle engineering.”
Efrati also wasted no time in asking Musk what he thought was worthy of coverage, to which Musk replied: “About a year ago, I asked Doug to manage both engineering & production. He agreed that Tesla needed eng & prod better aligned, so we don’t design cars that are crazy hard to build. Right now, tho, better to divide & conquer, so I’m back to sleeping at factory. Car biz is hell …”
(Musk famously unrolled a sleeping bag on the floor of Tesla’s Fremont, California factory when the carmaker was enduring what he called “production hell” for its Model X SUV.)
The entire Twitter exchange is here.
Tesla confirmed to Business Insider that Fields, who came to Tesla in 2013 after working at Apple, was still with the company.
The carmaker is expected to announce its first-quarter vehicle deliveries this week. Earlier Monday, reports emerged that Musk had informed employees that the company would fall short of its goal of 2,500 Model 3s produced weekly by the end of March.
Tesla doesn’t typically respond to reports about internal communications and was unable to confirm those reports to Business Insider.
The company’s shares closed down over 5% in trading Monday, to $US252.
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