Elon Musk lashes out against coronavirus lockdowns: ‘FREE AMERICA NOW’


Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday blasted the coronavirus lockdowns that have shut down life in the United States, calling public officials' directives to stay home "fascist".

Tesla reported stronger-than-expected first quarter global sales.

"So the extension of the shelter-in-place or, frankly, I would call it, forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights, in my opinion, breaking people's freedoms in ways that are awful and wrong and not why people came to America or built this country", Musk said, swearing to underscore his point.

The company in early April already reported a record first quarter for production and deliveries of its vehicles lineup, consisting of the Models S, X, 3 and Y. Still, analysts have cautioned that the pandemic is likely to slice into production and render unlikely its target of half a million vehicles built in 2020. Tesla's stock price was trading up by 4% today before the market closed, and it shot up from there. Ahead of the earnings report, analysts had predicted a $1.24 per share loss in standard terms, and a 32 cents per share loss in adjusted terms.

The Tesla boss has been a longstanding Covid-19 sceptic, initially arguing that the virus would die out in the U.S. by the end of April and pushing back against orders to close Tesla's factories in California and NY.

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The health ministry said 551 people died in the 24 hours to Thursday, up from 523 on Wednesday, bringing the total to 19,130.

Tesla scored large increases in both auto production and deliveries and reported progress in ramping up production at its Fremont, California factory and at a newly opened plant in Shanghai. Now it seems Tesla is planning to release the payment plan option by the end of 2020. Taking Tesla's Monday closing price of almost $800 as an example, Musk could flip his new shares for a profit of $758 million. "At Gigifactory Shanghai, further volume growth resulted in a material improvement in margins of locally made Model 3 vehicles".

While answering questions from analysts, Musk said "this is the time to think about the future and also to ask, is it right to infringe upon people's rights, as what is happening right now".

Chief Financial Officer Zach Kirkhorn said on the call that buying the self-driving feature upfront and paying it off as part of a loan on the vehicle would be "the least expensive plan", but added that a subscription model would help the company onboard customers who don't go that route. Tesla halted production after initially defying Alameda County's shelter-in-place order, which called for all nonessential businesses to suspend operations.

Elon Musk hit out against the lockdowns that have kept businesses throughout the US closed for more than a month in a series of tweets late Tuesday. That was aided by production at its new factory in Shanghai. But to say that they can not leave their house and will be arrested if they do ... this is fascist.