| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES Feb 25 Tesla Motors Inc's top
brass, including Chief Executive Elon Musk, this week are
considering a strategy to recoup market value and boost demand
after a critical review of the automaker's Model S sedan in New
York Times this month.
Musk says that Tesla has lost about $100 million in sales
and canceled orders due to the Times story, which said the sedan
ran out of battery power sooner than promised during a chilly
winter test drive from Washington D.C. to Boston.
"We have seen a few hundred cancellations that are due to
the NYT piece and slightly lowered demand in the U.S. Northeast
region," Musk told Reuters in an email.
To lose $100 million in car sales, assuming a $100,000
price per vehicle, Tesla would have to sell 1,000 fewer cars
Since the Times' Feb. 8 story, by reporter John Broder,
Tesla shares have fallen 13 percent, while the S&P 500 index has
slid 1.4 percent. Between $100 million and $200 million of
Tesla's drop in market value was due to the Times article, Musk
"The Tesla team and I are brainstorming this week how to
correct the misperception that they have created in the market
about how well our car performs in cold weather," he wrote.
"That too, will take money and time."
The Model S is the company's second electric vehicle, after
the two-passenger Roadster sports car. The Model S, which went
into production last June, starts at nearly $60,000 before a
federal tax credit, with stickers ranging to more than $105,000.
Its success is crucial for Tesla, which is looking to turn
an adjusted profit in the first quarter - the company's first
since going public in 2010.
Musk lambasted the Times' review of the Model S, calling the
test a "fake" on Twitter and producing data logs from that
vehicle to disprove the article.
Broder in a Times story dated Feb. 12 denied that he had
Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan said Broder took
"casual and imprecise notes" of his test drive and did not
exercise good judgment, but noted that vehicle data logs
reproduced by Musk on Tesla's website were "sometimes quite
Sullivan concluded that "there is still plenty to argue
about and few conclusions that are unassailable."