Tech

Tesla reportedly sends employees back to US from Germany ahead of Trump travel ban

Key Points
  • After President Trump announced a temporary ban on travelers to the U.S. from much of Europe, Tesla rushed to send dozens of its employees back to the U.S. from Germany, Automobilwoche first reported.
  • Tesla was just in the beginning stages of building a factory in Brandenburg, outside of Berlin.
  • Tesla previously said it would "comfortably exceed" deliveries of 500,000 electric vehicles in 2020, after deliveries reached 367,500 in 2019. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Tesla has not updated its guidance. 
SpaceX founder Elon Musk looks on at a post-launch news conference after the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft, lifted off on an uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, March 2, 2019.
Mike Blake | Reuters

Tesla reportedly rushed to send dozens of its employees back to the U.S. from Germany on Thursday after President Donald Trump announced a ban on foreign travelers to the United States from much of Europe for the next 30 days.

Auto industry newspaper Automobilwoche first reported on this development following the travel ban's announcement on Wednesday night. Tesla did not immediately return a request for comment.

The electric-car company was in the beginning stages of building a factory in Brandenburg, outside of Berlin, with hopes to deliver vehicles made there starting in 2021. 

In late February, after a standoff with environmental protesters, Tesla obtained approval from German courts to clear 91 hectares (225 acres) of forest to make way for the Berlin Gigafactory. 

The company said in a fourth-quarter 2019 earnings update that it had selected Berlin as "the right place to build vehicles for the European market due to a strong manufacturing and engineering presence in Germany."

This week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that he is scouting locations in the U.S. for even more factories, seemingly mimicking Amazon's effort to unearth incentives and subsidies, in different states, before deciding where to build its HQ2. 

While many publicly traded companies have warned that they will miss guidance, following the spread of the coronavirus around the world, Tesla has not yet changed its 2020 annual or first-quarter guidance, or warned investors about any major delays to its business plans.

Tesla previously said it would "comfortably exceed" deliveries of 500,000 electric vehicles in 2020, after deliveries reached 367,500 in 2019. 

The company successfully built and began delivering cars from a new plant in Shanghai, in under one year. The COVID-19 pandemic, among other challenges, could make that performance hard for Tesla to repeat in Germany. 

Tesla shares closed about 12% down for the day, amid a market rout, and after Morgan Stanley's Adam Jonas cut his price target for Tesla to $480 from $500. He also slashed his expectations for Tesla vehicle deliveries to hit 452,000 units in 2020 — which is down from the 500,000 previously expected.

Tesla was not alone — the Dow Jones Industrial Average nosed-dived and closed down 10% for the day in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and oil price wars. 

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