Tesla to halt operations at two US factories due to Coronavirus

Posted on 20 Mar 2020 by Tim Brown

Tesla is to temporarily stop operations at two of its factories in California and New York in response to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

In an announcement on Thursday, Tesla said it would “temporarily suspend production” at its 10,000-employee factory in Fremont, California, its main car assembly hub in the United States, by the end of the day on Monday, March 23.

The company said it would also suspend production at its factory in Buffalo, New York, where Tesla manufactures solar panels and charging equipment for its Supercharger network. 

Basic operations will continue at the Fremont plant to support vehicle and energy service operations and charging infrastructure, while similar essential operations will continue in New York to provide parts and supplies necessary for “service, infrastructure and critical supply chains”.

Tesla said that in many locations, it was in the process of implementing “touchless deliveries” so that customers could continue to take delivery of new vehicles in a seamless and safe way.

“Due to the unique over-the-air connectivity of our vehicles, customers are able to unlock their new cars at a delivery parking lot via the Tesla App, sign any remaining relevant paperwork that has been placed in their car, and return that paperwork to an on-site drop-off location prior to leaving,” the company said in its announcement

Tesla also took the opportunity to reveal its current financial position stating that it had $6.3bn in cash at the end of Q4 2019, which was prior to its recent $2.3bn capital raise. 

At the end of Q4 2019, Tesla also had credit lines worth approximately $3bn, including working capital lines for all regions as well as financing for the expansion of our Shanghai factory. “We believe this level of liquidity is sufficient to successfully navigate an extended period of uncertainty,” the company said.

Tesla Inc. shares were upgraded to equal weight from underperform by Morgan Stanley on expectations that the company has liquidity and access to capital to manage through the Coronavirus health crisis.