Tesla ‘Will Make Over 500,000 Cars in the Next 12 Months,’ Claims Elon Musk on Twitter

Despite fines and reprimands from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over promissory tweets, Musk apparently can't help himself.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is baiting another bout with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after promising that the automaker will build half-a-million cars within the next 12 months, via Twitter on Sunday night.

Musk, who was Tesla’s chairman until he settled charges of fraud with the SEC by relinquishing the position and paying a $20-million fine, reignited his spat with watchdogs after tweeting on February 19 that Tesla would build 500,000 vehicles in 2019. As a result of the tweet, the SEC has accused Musk of being in contempt of the prior settlement, and Musk’s doubling-down on the above claim this weekend will not help his case.

According to Bloomberg, Musk’s lawyers and the SEC have been instructed by a judge to reach an agreement that will reign in Musk’s ability to tweet anything he chooses by Thursday, April 18. If they can’t reach an agreement, the judge will rule whether Musk’s newest tweets are in contempt of the SEC settlement.

Both manufacturing capacity and stumbling demand for Tesla vehicles could stand as potential obstacles between Tesla and Musk’s promised production target. Just last week, Panasonic reportedly backed down on a series of planned upgrades and investments to Tesla’s Nevada and Shanghai factory, which would have increased battery production capacity, claimed by Tesla to be the Model 3’s bottleneck.

Where Tesla’s true manufacturing capacity lies is debated, but what isn’t is that sales of Tesla’s more expensive Model S and Model X models are falling. This has been speculated by some to be a potential cause for the cancellation of production capacity upgrades, as greater production capacity won’t be needed if the supply of Teslas outstrips demand.