Tesla halts online sales ahead of Elon Musk announcement

Tesla buyers might have a hard time ordering a vehicle through its website for the next several hours.

The “order” webpages for the Model 3, Model S and Model X vehicle all redirect to show a nebulous message that reads “The wait is almost over.” Below the main message, it reads “Great things are launching at 2 pm.”

Updated: Musk’s Twitter page has changed just slightly. His profile photo now has a Tesla vehicle, and not the Mars shot.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted February 27 “Some Tesla news,” followed by equally vague tweets “2 pm” and “California.”

The tweets had led to widespread speculation of what Musk will announce Thursday. It was enough to send shares higher yesterday. Tesla shares have risen more than 7 percent since market open February 27.

In the midst of Musk’s teasing tweets, another pressing matter unfolded involving his settlement agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A U.S. judge issued an order February 26 that gave Musk until March 11 to explain why he should not be held in contempt for violating a settlement agreement with the SEC.

The timing of Musk’s tweets, which followed his recent problems with the SEC, has struck many as a diversionary tactic meant to distract investors and the media.

The SEC asked a judge February 25 to hold Musk in contempt for violating the settlement agreement reached with the agency last year. Reuters was the first to report the judge’s order.

The SEC argued that a tweet sent by Musk on February 19 violated their agreement. Musk is supposed to get approval from Tesla’s board before communicating potentially material information to investors.

The tweet said Tesla would produce “around” 500,000 cars this year. He later sent another tweet that corrected himself. The second tweet said “meant to say annualized production rate at the end of 2019 probably around 500k, ie 10k cars/week. Deliveries for year still estimated to be about 400k.”

This is a developing story.