Tesla CEO Elon Musk would be okay if the automaker went bankrupt if a rival company built a better car, board member Hiromichi Mizuno said at the World Government Summit on Tuesday.
Mizuno said that Musk has stated that he wouldn’t mind Tesla going bankrupt if someone else came up with a better car:
“I disagree whenever Elon says I don’t mind Tesla getting into bankruptcy if somebody else comes up with a better car.”
Tesla has come narrowly close to going bankrupt on several occasions. During the company’s early days, when it was developing the original Roadster, Tesla barely avoided shutting its doors after investors poured more money in after Christmas in 2008. Again in 2017, during the company’s ramp-up of the Model 3, Musk stated Tesla was just a month away from running out of money:
“Closest we got was about a month. The Model 3 ramp was extreme stress & pain for a long time — from mid-2017 to mid-2019. Production & logistics hell.”
Musk has routinely referred to this point in Tesla’s history as “production hell,” stating it was one of the most difficult times of his life. However, the manufacturing struggles the company went through were well worth it, as they resulted in a substantial lead in the EV sector, which Tesla has, for the most part, been recognized as the industry leader across the board.
“In some cases, I think that in some areas of the [Model 3], Tesla is 10 years ahead, especially when it comes to the manufacturing,” automotive teardown expert Sandy Munro said.
But Musk has embraced competition, and as Tesla’s motto is “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” the CEO has been both critical and supportive of other companies that have entered the EV sector.
“We’re very excited to see that the big car companies are embracing electric vehicles,” Musk said last year. “If you were to rewind the press releases to five years ago, that was not the case.”
When companies have made moves that he has not necessarily seen the logic in, he has offered his advice. When Rivian started scoping out real estate for a new production facility, Musk recommended the company get its first plant in steady operation before committing to a new facility. “It’s insanely difficult to reach volume production at affordable unit cost,” Musk added.