Tesla Motors unaffected by executive departures, CEO says image

Tesla Motors’ CEO said production and sale of its all-electric Model S sedan won’t be delayed by two top engineers leaving the carmaker.

Tesla shares plunged a record 19 percent last week after their departure was announced. “I’m highly confident we’ll deliver at least 20,000 cars in 2013. I’m highly confident we’ll do better than the delivery date of the first Model S cars being in July,” Tesla’s chief executive officer and biggest shareholder was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

On January 13, news broke out that Tesla’s vice president and chief engineer Peter Rawlinson and vehicle and chassis engineering supervisor Nick Sampson left the company. Musk apologized for how news of the departures became public, and said the company had planned to discuss the personnel changes when fourth-quarter results are announced on February 15. “A positive was misconstrued as a negative development,” Musk said.

Tesla plans to begin Model S luxury-car production at its Fremont plant in California by midyear. The Model S is Tesla’s second vehicle, following the $109,000 Roadster, and is aimed at expanding the company’s sales volume with a base model starting at $57,400, before the tax credit. That version will go as far as 160 miles per charge.