Tesla customers left waiting after run on branded shorts

Five months since making their purchases, some Tesla customers are still waiting — not for cars, but red satin shorts.

Sporting a gold Tesla logo, the “short shorts”, as they are branded, were dreamt up by the carmaker’s founder Elon Musk as a way to mock investors betting against the company’s shares.

The shorts sold out almost immediately when they were offered online in early July, but as Christmas approaches, some customers say they have yet to receive them.

“Tesla can’t even deliver a pair of shorts in over five months,” one customer told the Financial Times. “What did they do with all that money?”

Several others who bought the shorts in July said they received an email from Tesla weeks later stating that, owing to high demand, their order would be ready “in the fall of this year”. Some told the FT they received another update in October that deliveries would start imminently.

People have used Twitter to ask Mr Musk about their orders, while others have vented their irritation on forum site Reddit. 


Tesla’s stock market valuation after a six-fold rise in the company’s shares this year

While the delay has left customers frustrated, that pales next to the pain suffered this year by those who have continued to bet against Tesla’s stock. The group’s shares have soared more than sixfold, taking its market capitalisation to $562bn and vaulting it into the S&P 500 this month.

Although the company has had problems hitting delivery targets, investors have taken encouragement this year from the group’s performance.

Tesla’s outspoken founder has even used the price of the shorts to taunt his critics. The $69.420 price tag is nod both to cannabis culture — in 2018 Mr Musk was pictured taking a drag on a joint during a podcast — and the price at which he infamously said he would take Tesla private.

Earlier this year, Mr Musk joked that he would send some of the shorts to the Shortseller Enrichment Commission, an apparent jab at the Securities and Exchange Commission, which in 2018 forced him to resign as chairman and pay a $20m penalty over a tweet about securing funding to take the company private.

Some who got the shorts are now selling them with a huge mark-up on auctions sites such as Ebay.

One buyer who owns a Tesla but has yet to receive the shorts, said they ordered them as a “fun idea” and is not surprised at the delay.

“Each of these one-off Tesla merchandise offers are instant collectors’ items and not at all essential to Tesla’s business, so this is kind of expected,” they told the Financial Times. 

This line of shorts is not the first time Mr Musk has used the garment to chide Tesla sceptics. In 2018, he sent hedge fund manager David Einhorn, the founder of Greenlight Capital and longstanding bear on the carmaker, multiple pairs and later requested that he put them on and take a selfie. 

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

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