Tesla Stock Swings After COVID Breakout at Reopened Plant

Concha Zaspa, Ukraine - July 20, 2018: Tesla sign on the building on car sales.
Vitaliy Karimov / Shutterstock.com

Once considered a major Silicon Valley success story, Tesla’s valuation is experiencing major swings as the market reacts to problems at the company’s plant in Alameda County, California. The Washington Post reports the factory had around 450 COVID-19 cases between their reopening in May 2020 and the end of the year. 

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Newly-Released Documents Suggest Tesla Under-Reported Cases

The new information comes from legal filing website PlainSite, after a court order. The information shows Tesla reported a total of 125 cases of COVID-19 among factory workers between May and December 2020. The health department has not released any additional information going into 2021. 

This information also conflicts with Tesla’s internal data, revealed in another lawsuit against Tesla founder Elon Musk and the electric car company. Documents from that lawsuit — published by PlainSite — shows there may have been as many as 250 COVID-19 exposures per week during the summer of 2020. Neither Tesla nor the Alameda County Public Health Department have commented on the documents. 

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In addition, a fire at the plant will delay construction of a new annex for the factory. San Francisco CBS affiliate KPIX-TV reports the blaze broke out in a vehicle stamping machine on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Firefighters were able to knock it down quickly, causing minimal damage. The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

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With the new allegations, the market is signaling their concerns over the company’s valuation. According to The New York Times, the company has lost over $200 billion in market value since January. Although the stock opened higher on Monday, March 15, 2021, its single-share price is still over $170 lower than its all-time high of $880. 

Report Comes as Musk Appoints Himself “Technoking of Tesla” 

The data has also hurt the Tesla founder’s personal value as well. CNN reports Musk’s personal value is down to $157 billion since Tesla shares continue to slide. In comparison, Celebrity Net Worth estimates Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is worth $183 billion, while Microsoft founder Bill Gates is worth $137 billion. 

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Estimated value aside, the serial entrepreneur continues to move forward in his own eccentric way. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Musk gave himself a new title within the company: Technoking of Tesla. Moreover, he also dubbed chief financial officer Zach Kirkhorn “Master of Coin,” a possible reference to Tesla’s purchase of $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

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About the Author

Joe Cortez is a personal finance writer for GoBankingRates. With over a decade of experience in financial journalism, Joe brings an insider knowledge of all things consumer finance, including credit cards, mortgages, and banking accounts. His work has appeared at NerdWallet, Business Insider and NextAdvisor. He is a member of the Society for Professional Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the Radio-Television-Digital News Association.
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