Hedge fund investor David Einhorn took a victory lap after a long held Tesla Inc. short position boosted returns for Greenlight Capital in the first quarter.
“The wheels are falling off,” Einhorn wrote in a letter to investors Friday. He criticized Tesla for touting its cars as the safest available while marketing its driver-assistance system Autopilot in ways that confuse consumers about its capabilities. And Einhorn said Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has overstated how much demand there is for Model 3 sedan.
Einhorn, 50, has been public about being short Tesla going back at least three years. Greenlight’s bet against the company contributed to 2018 being its worst year on record. Tesla shares rose 6.9 percent last year and surged 46 percent in 2017.
Tesla fell 16 percent in the first quarter of this year. Einhorn referred to comments Musk, 47, made to Axios in November that the company came within weeks of running out of money when it was struggling to ramp up production of the Model 3. He said the electric-car maker may be back in a similar position.
“Musk never admits the crisis in real time,” Einhorn said. “We believe that right here, right now, the company appears to again be on the brink.”
A Tesla spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.