Elon Musk's fortune is dented as Tesla punished for disappointing sales

Tesla CEO Elon Musk

But Musk came under fire when he tweeted that Tesla would make around 500,000 cars in 2019, a figure he later clarified would be closer to 400,000. That's more than triple the number that were still making their way to customers at the end of 2018, though it's not unprecedented - more Tesla vehicles were in transit at September's close.

While Tesla has plans to begin building vehicles in China for its burgeoning market there, the company says the fact it has only a single Bay Area factory has led to logistical challenges. But Musk didn't have the funding secured.

The issue over Musk's tweets stems from a settlement reached a year ago after Musk tweeted that he had secured the funding to take Tesla private at $420 a share - a substantial premium over the company's stock price at the time - when he had not.

Judge Nathan seemed frustrated by the entire situation, stating that she had "serious concerns that, whatever I decide here, the issue will not be finally resolved".

The SEC said the tweet was misleading and a violation of a court agreement in October, as he did not seek or receive pre-approval from Tesla to send it.

MPs reject all four alternatives to Theresa May's Brexit plan
Anti-Brexit activists demonstrate with a model of Theresa May outside the Houses of Parliament in London on April 1, 2019 . The Cabinet's marathon session will take place amid rumours that they could be preparing for a general election .

Musk has vehemently denied his February tweet violated the settlement and is fighting the SEC's attempt to have him held in contempt of court.

On Wednesday night, Tesla repeated its January 30 vehicle delivery forecast, but said first-quarter deliveries had fallen 31 percent from the prior three months to about 63,000. Inventory of Model 3 vehicles in North America remains exceptionally low, reaching about two weeks of supply at the end of Q1, compared to the industry average of 2-3 months.

Tesla now expects quarterly profits to be "negatively impacted".

Nord LB analyst Frank Schwope called the numbers "more shocking than disappointing" and said there remain doubts whether Tesla could deliver 400,000 cars this year.

There's maybe only one thing that makes being ruled over by a technocracy of uber-rich venture capitalist goons somewhat tolerable, and that's the fact that most of said goons appear to have late-stage brain worms.

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