Tesla CEO Says N.Y. Times Article Reduced Market Cap

Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks one-on-one with Betty Liu about his reaction to a New York Times review of the company's cars and the future for electric car production. He speaks on Bloomberg Television's "In the Loop." (Source: Bloomberg)

Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA)’s chief executive officer said a New York Times story saying the electric-vehicle maker’s Model S sedan fell short of its estimated range trimmed the company’s stock-market value as much as $100 million.

“It probably affected us to the tune of tens of millions, to the order of $100 million,” CEO Elon Musk said today in a Bloomberg Television interview with Betty Liu. “So it’s not trivial.”

The Times this month published a story on its website saying a Model S failed to meet the sedan’s 300-mile (483- kilometer) range “under ideal conditions” during a test-drive in cold weather. Musk on a Twitter post called the story “fake.” The newspaper’s public editor said in a blog on the paper’s website that there were flaws in the story.

Tesla is counting on the Model S to become profitable this quarter, excluding some costs. The Palo Alto, California-based company expects to boost Model S output by at least 25 percent this year and is bringing out the Model X crossover in 2014.

The shares have fallen 12 percent, from $39.24 to $34.38, since Feb. 8, the day the Times article first appeared. That includes today’s 4.8 percent decline at the close in New York.

Tesla’s market capitalization slid about $553 million in that time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 2 percent during the period. The company’s stock-market value is $3.91 billion as of today’s close.

Musk also said in the interview today that Model S demand would be 10 percent to 20 percent less without a $7,500 U.S. tax credit.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bill Koenig in Southfield, Michigan, at wkoenig@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.