Elon Musk Would Accept Bankruptcy If A Rival Built A Better Car, Tesla Board Member Says

In a Tuesday interview, Hiromichi Mizuno, a former chief investment officer of the Japan Government Pension Investment Fund and one of Tesla’s eight board members, provided some unusual, albeit amusing, pushback against Tesla’s millionaire CEO Elon Musk.

According to CNBC, Mizuno stated that Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted that if competitors can create better vehicles, he would not mind Tesla going bankrupt.

“I disagree with Elon saying that if someone else comes out with a better car, I don’t mind Tesla’s Bankruptcy. I think that’s his philosophy and Tesla’s philosophy.” Mizuno was elected to join Tesla Inc.’s board of directors in April 2020.

Tesla has come dangerously close to bankruptcy on multiple occasions. During the company’s early days, when it was developing the original Roadster, Tesla almost escaped bankruptcy as investors poured more money in after Christmas in 2008. 

Moreover, in 2017 during the company’s Model 3 ramp-up, Musk stated that Tesla was about a month away from running out of money.

“Closest we got was about a month. The Model 3 ramp was in extreme stress & pain for a long time — from mid-2017 to mid-2019. Production & logistics hell,” Musk said at the time.

Musk has frequently referred to this duration in Tesla’s history as “production hell,” claiming that it was one of the most challenging periods of his life. However, the company’s manufacturing difficulties were well worth it, as they resulted in a significant lead in the EV market, in 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 ten years ahead, especially when it comes to the manufacturing,” automotive teardown expert Sandy Munro said.

But Musk has welcomed competition, and because Tesla’s mission is to speed the world’s transition to sustainable energy, the CEO has been critical and encouraging of other EV firms.

“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.”

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