Published: Fri, March 15, 2019
Business | By Eloise Houston

Tesla Should Not Have Lowered the Price of Autopilot Says Musk

Tesla Should Not Have Lowered the Price of Autopilot Says Musk

The top USA securities regulator received permission from a federal judge on Tuesday to respond to Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk's arguments that his Twitter post about the electric vehicle maker's production volume did not violate his recent fraud settlement.

Musk corrected his tweet four hours later to say that the "annualized production rate" at year-end 2019 would probably be about 500,000, with deliveries expected to be about 400,000.

Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk shot back against United States securities regulators on Monday, arguing in a filing that his recent tweet about the electric vehicle maker's production volume did not violate his fraud settlement and he can not be held in contempt.

"If he is going to argue as his lawyers did in part in the document they filed yesterday, that he has a first amendment right to say whatever he wants, he doesn't because he gave that right up when he entered into a consent decree with the SEC over the comments that he made past year", Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said during an interview on "After The Bell" Tuesday. Musk also said that Tesla was still closing some stores, despite whipsawing reports of closures, freezes, and stores remaining open, over the last two weeks. Based on the Model 3, the mid-sized SUV will sit below the Model X, and while details are still scarce, we can make some educated guesses about what the vehicle could look like. Musk had till Monday to clarify why he shouldn't be held in contempt of courtroom. The vehicle will be priced at about $58,000 for a performance variant. In China, by the end of the year, Tesla is targeting 3,000 vehicles per week.

In February, the SEC "asked a judge to hold Musk in contempt for violating a settlement" with his February 19 tweet, Bloomberg reported.

Musk's lawyers say that the correction tweet was unnecessary, since the original tweet on February 19th didn't violate his settlement.

They added: "During the interview, and consistent with his First Amendment rights, Musk was sharply critical of the SEC".

The settlement comes from when the SEC sued Musk last September for committing securities fraud, after the CEO announced in August that he had the "funding secured" to take Tesla private. It's also worth noting that Tesla has missed production goals in the past. "I do not respect the SEC". Having lawyers review his tweets before he sends them - the SEC interpretation of the settlement "would effectively prevent Musk from speaking on any matters related to Tesla business based on the subject matter alone", today's filing reads.

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