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Staunch Tesla Autopilot critic extends support for Elon Musk and Fremont’s operations

Tesla recently received words of support from AutoNation CEO and past critic Mike Jackson after Musk elected to reopen his company’s Fremont production facility on Monday. The reopening went against the rules of Alameda County, California health officials, who halted Musk’s previous attempts to start production lines at the Fremont facility.

Jackson appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday after Bay Area media outlets indicated that Fremont’s parking lot was full of employee vehicles.

“It’s entirely appropriate that the factories reopen. I fully support it. We need the vehicles. As a matter of fact … I would go so far as to say, I support Elon Musk. Tesla should open,” Jackson said.

Jackson’s day-to-day job requires him to oversee the operation of AutoNation, the United States’ largest auto dealership chain. Currently, Autonation sells pre-owned Tesla vehicles.

However, the AutoNation CEO has been a critic of Musk and Tesla in the past. One of Tesla’s most well-known technologies is that of its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving capabilities, which Jackson has called “almost unethical” in the past.

Jackson also was vocal about his displeasure with Tesla over the company’s $35,000 Model 3 sedan, which was not made available until February 2019, a year and a half after the vehicle’s initial launch. The $35,000 Model 3 is available and has been for over a year, but is ordered as an “off-menu” item.

Despite these views, Jackson is supporting Musk’s determination to reopen the facility as the need for automobile manufacturing is imperative.

With pressure building from several sides including US President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Alameda County has issued an emergency press release stating that it has reviewed Tesla’s return-to-work plan. Following its review, the county’s officials noted that Tesla could operate beyond minimum basic operations this week and return to full operations next week.

“We reviewed the plan and held productive discussions today with Tesla’s representatives about their safety and prevention plans, including some additional safety recommendations. If Tesla’s Prevention and Control Plan includes these updates, and the public health indicators remain stable or improve, we have agreed that Tesla can begin to augment their Minimum Business Operations this week in preparation for possible reopening as soon as next week,” the emergency press release noted.

Staunch Tesla Autopilot critic extends support for Elon Musk and Fremont’s operations
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