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Musk says New York Times debacle may have cost Tesla $100 million

Posted Feb 26th 2013 1:28PM

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk being interviewed by Bloomberg TV - screencap

Despite the old chestnut that there's no such thing as bad publicity, there's always a cost incurred – sometimes it's hidden, and sometimes it's front and center. Enigmatic Tesla CEO Elon Musk seems to think his company's now-infamous Model S range dustup with The New York Times is falling squarely into the latter category. According to Musk, fallout from the back-and-forth battle over the newspaper's cold-weather road trip story may have decimated Tesla's stock value by as much as $100 million. Musk believes the report resulted in a lot of cancelled orders, probably costing Tesla "a few hundred" Model S purchases.

According to the report, Tesla's shares have tumbled some 12 per cent (going from US$39.24 to US$34.38) since the report was published. Bloomberg further notes that the company's market capitalization has skidded by around US$553 million over that same period. With the company's stock-market value pegged at US$3.91 billion, US$100m represents a not insignificant chunk of money to Tesla.

So how does Musk feel about embattled Times writer John Broder, whose controversial report he previously called "fake"? During the interview with Bloomberg TV, which you can watch below, Musk opines, "I don't think it should be the end of his career – I don't even think necessarily he should be fired – but I do think he fudged an article." No word has surfaced about any actions taken against Broder after his boss admitted he did "not especially" exercise "good judgement" in the course of his reporting.

There's a lot of interesting ground covered in the Musk interview, including a discussion on the impact of early adopters on Model S sales, as well as how demand might be affected if the federal US$7,500 tax credit were to end, so check it out by scrolling below.




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