Tesla, which is now your God, is considered by Wall Street to be worth an insane valuation that gives it a market cap on par with General Motors—you know, the automaker that has been around forever. Tesla’s founder Elon Musk doesn’t understand why.
In an interview with The Guardian for a story on conditions inside Tesla’s Fremont factory, Musk cut loose a bit about the company’s incredible $50 billion valuation. Though he said it makes no sense to him, Musk said Tesla still doesn’t deserve to be treated like other carmakers. Hm.
From The Guardian:
“I do believe this market cap is higher than we have any right to deserve,” he said, pointing out his company produces just 1% of GM’s total output.
“We’re a money-losing company,” Musk added. “This is not some situation where, for example, we are just greedy capitalists who decided to skimp on safety in order to have more profits and dividends and that kind of thing. It’s just a question of how much money we lose. And how do we survive? How do we not die and have everyone lose their jobs?”
And in contrast to the claims of the 15 workers interviewed by The Guardian—which Tesla attempted to downplay last week in a preemptive blog post—Musk took issue with the depiction of a hard-boiled operation that’s working feverishly to prep for production of the Model 3 sedan in July.
“It’s incredibly hurtful, and, I think, false for anyone to claim that I don’t care.” The CEO said his desk was “in the worst place in the factory, the most painful place”, in keeping with his management philosophy. “It’s not some comfortable corner office.”
In early 2016, he said, he slept on the factory floor in a sleeping bag “to make it the most painful thing possible”. “I knew people were having a hard time, working long hours, and on hard jobs. I wanted to work harder than they did, to put even more hours in,” he said. “Because that’s what I think a manager should do.”
Whatever the case, the Model 3's viewed by many analysts as a make-or-break moment of sorts for the company. Perhaps, like his recent attempts to somewhat walk back his extremely high production target of 500,000 vehicles by next year, Musk sees the valuation as another possible tool that critics can weld and attack him with.
July’s shaping up to be quite an interesting month.