Tesla Inc. shares swung wildly Thursday after an upbeat email that Elon Musk sent to employees countered days of escalating doubt that the company will hit its vehicle delivery targets.
The CEO wrote that Tesla has a “good chance” in the second quarter of exceeding the record 90,700 deliveries achieved in the last three months of 2018. In the email, which first surfaced on a Chinese social media forum, Musk also said the company has received more than 50,000 net new orders this quarter.
Two people who asked not to be identified confirmed the email is legitimate. Tesla shares rose as much as 3.5 percent after trading lower by as much as 5.6 percent during the pre-market session. The shares rose 1.4 percent to close the day at $195.49 in New York.
"It's the usual Elon Musk scheme: spread positive mood with good news. Elon is a marketing man, but the Tesla reality is sobering," Nord LB analyst Frank Schwope said.
Musk’s memo contradicted multiple analysts who have cast doubt on Tesla’s ability to deliver at least 90,000 electric vehicles this quarter and 360,000 this year. Gene Munster, a managing partner of venture capital firm Loup Ventures, became the latest to cast doubt on the company reaching those numbers, telling Bloomberg Television late Wednesday that “2019 is going to be a difficult year.”
“They’re going to miss their numbers, their target -- everyone knows that,” Munster said Wednesday. In a follow-up interview Thursday, he said demand is “really a wild card.”
Under a deal with the SEC, Musk had agreed to get some of his statements reviewed by Tesla's legal counsel before publication, including financial statements and unreported production and delivery numbers.
Because the e-mail was not an official external company communication, it wasn't immediately clear if Musk's message to employees detailing crucial delivery and production numbers violates the agreement with the SEC.
There were no official Tesla disclosures filed about the matter as of midday, according to the company's investor relations website.
The regulator could not be immediately reached for comment, while a Tesla representative did not respond to requests for comment.
Tesla shares are still down about 42 percent so far this year.
Reuters contributed to this report.