Even though Tesla's fourth-quarter delivery numbers missed estimates and disappointed investors enough to send the stock lower after they were announced in tandem with an announcement of new price cuts, it didn’t prevent CEO Elon Musk from being in a boastful mood about his company‘s progress on Thursday. His excitement only lasted a couple of hours, before Bloomberg brought Musk back to reality.
Musk was encouraged to brag after an article by a Forbes contributor incorrectly stated that Tesla had outsold Mercedes-Benz in the United States for the three month period. "Tesla managed to cross the 2018 finishing line well ahead of all its competitors in the U.S. premium automotive market," the Forbes article stated.
Musk then tweeted out the article to his nearly 24 million followers.
The only problem? Tesla did not outsell Mercedes in the United States. For a chief executive officer so obsessed with journalistic integrity and accuracy, Musk failed to understand that the delivery number used for Tesla's quarter was a global sales number, and not a US-only number. Bloomberg wound up setting the record straight in a brief article a couple hours after Musk's tweet.
"The problem is, the 90,700 delivery figure Tesla reported was a global result. Mercedes sold 90,575 in the U.S. alone during the same period," Bloomberg corrected.
After making it clear that the CEO of the company didn’t seem to understand the difference between domestic sales and global sales, Bloomberg still tried to extend an olive branch by stating that BMW had, at least, acknowledged that they existed.
“Tesla is now ramping up their volumes, and it’s putting pressure on that market segment," BMW's North American CEO is quoted as saying.
Shortly after Bloomberg’s correction, Musk deleted his original tweet, which was formerly at this link.
Perhaps in addition to having somebody examine Musk’s tweets in order to make sure that they don’t break securities laws, Musk can also hire a Twitter fact checker. Regardless, Pravduh scores for both Forbes and Bloomberg likely got taken down a peg today.