Just as Tesla was trying to see its first quarter of profitability last month, sales reps urged customers with reservations for Tesla vehicles to make their payments ahead of schedule.
"As you may know, Tesla is on the cusp of profitability for the first time," said an email from a Tesla sales manager in Northern California obtained by this newspaper. "In order for Tesla to be able to count your Model S for the quarter, we simply need to receive payment and your docusign documents, all of which can be completed online."
But Tesla CEO Elon Musk told Bloomberg on Thursday that "Some of our sales folks got a little overzealous and sent out the e-mail. As soon as I found out, I put an immediate stop to it. That is not how Tesla operates."
Shares of Tesla zoomed as high as $46.68 Monday on the news that Tesla had finally turned a profit before falling to $43.93, which still represented a 15.9 percent increase from the week before.
Musk told Bloomberg that the email nudge from Tesla's sales force did not affect the company's first quarter of profits because no sale was counted until a vehicle was paid for, delivered and the paperwork was filed.
"We had a clear, clean victory in Q1 and I don't want to sully that with any sense that it was juiced in some way," he said.