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Tesla on Wednesday reported its third consecutive quarterly profit, defying the projections of analysts who had expected the Covid-19 pandemic to drive the electric carmaker to a loss. The company touted production of the Model Y, its more affordable SUV. Tesla shares jumped almost 9 percent in after-hours trading.
But for many, the achievement was eclipsed by the theatrics of CEO Elon Musk, who has been chafing against government stay-at-home rules and the closure of Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California. On an up-til-then sedate call with analysts Wednesday afternoon, the SpaceX and Tesla leader let loose on officials who recently extended the region’s shelter-in-place order through the end of May. The orders are “forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights,” Musk said. “That’s not why people came to America or built this country. What the fuck?”
Car manufacturing is not on the expanding list of permitted activities in the Bay Area, which seems to mean that the Fremont factory—where all of Tesla’s Model S, X, and Y vehicles, and most of its Model 3’s, are made—will remain closed. Tesla reportedly attempted to recall some of its workers this week, but reconsidered when the Bay Area extended its shelter-in-place orders.
Musk said Tesla “will weather the storm” of the pandemic, but some of its smaller suppliers may not. “To say that [people] cannot leave their house and will be arrested if they do, this is fascist,” Musk said. “This is not democratic. This is not freedom. Give people back their goddamn freedom.”
Residents are permitted to leave their Bay Area homes to buy food, exercise, and perform their essential jobs. Officials plan to broaden the list of permitted activities next week.
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