Tesla Investor Sues Elon Musk Over Alleged $7.5 Billion Insider Trading

Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

Good morning! It’s Monday, June 3, 2024, and this is The Morning Shift, your daily roundup of the top automotive headlines from around the world, in one place. Here are the important stories you need to know.

1st Gear: Elon Musk Accused Of Insider Trading

It never rains, but it pours for Tesla boss Elon Musk. While half his attention is spent fighting for his $56 billion Tesla pay and his other half deals with slowing sales, mass redundancies and quality control issues at the automaker, he’s now facing a new fight that relates to claims of insider trading.

A Tesla shareholder is now suing the company boss over claims that he was embroiled in an insider trading scheme worth more than $7 billion, reports Forbes. The claimant is arguing that Musk sold $7.5 billion worth of Tesla stock in 2022 in a move that “exploited his position.” As Forbes explains:


The lawsuit, filed by Tesla investor Michael Perry, alleges Musk had nonpublic information about Tesla falling short on fourth-quarter deliveries and production when he sold approximately $7,530,113,926 of company stock in November and December 2022.

Had Musk waited to make the selloff after the public announcement of the delivery miss, the sales would have netted him less than 55% of what he actually realized, the lawsuit said.

Musk allegedly profited about $3 billion from the November and December sales, according to the lawsuit, which cited Tesla’s Jan. 3, 2023, closing price of $108.10 per share.

The claimant is now arguing that Musk should return the profit he made off the sale of his Tesla stock, a demand that neither Tesla or its boss has so far responded to.

The allegations against Musk aren’t the only claims of shady trading. He’s currently embroiled in a regulatory probe that’s seeking to determine if he could have broken federal securities laws when he bought stock in Twitter back in 2022. However, he has so far brushed this off as “harassment” from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, reports Reuters.

2nd Gear: Toyota, Honda Exports Banned Over Vehicle Certification

While Toyota battles recalls here in America, it’s also one of several Japanese automakers that’s coming under scrutiny at home over vehicle certification. Toyota, Mazda, Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki are all facing inquiries from Japan’s transport ministry over “irregularities” found in certifications for some models.

As a result of irregularities in certain paperwork, Toyota, Mazda and Yamaha have now been ordered to stop shipments of certain models, reports Reuters. The ban includes cars like the Toyota Yaris Cross compact SUV. As Reuters reports:

The ministry said on Monday irregularities were found in applications to certify models from the two automakers and also from Honda Motor, Suzuki Motor and Yamaha Motor. It had ordered Toyota, Mazda and Yamaha to suspend shipments of some vehicles.

The developments represent a widening of a safety test scandal among Japanese automakers. The ministry had requested automakers to investigate their vehicle certification applications following a safety test scandal at Toyota’s compact car unit Daihatsu that emerged last year.

Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker by volume, said on Monday it has temporarily halted shipments and sales of three car models made in Japan.

Transport ministers will conduct searches of Toyota’s facilities to get to the bottom of the scandal, which comes just days after Mazda revealed that its test engineers had modified engine control test results, leading to a stop sale order on the Roadster RF model. Yamaha has also paused sales of some motorcycle models as a result of the probe.

3rd Gear: NHTSA Demands More Info On Zoox Crashes

While Toyota faces questions from experts in Japan, here in the U.S. self-driving taxi firm Zoox is under fire from safety regulators Stateside. The Amazon-backed autonomous vehicle maker is facing increased questions from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reports Reuters.

The questioning is part of a probe into two crashes involving self-driving Zoox taxis, which applied the brakes suddenly causing rear-end crashes. Now, NHTSA has called on the company to provide additional details about the build-up to the collisions, as Reuters reports:

The agency, which opened its probe into the crashes this month, said it is seeking video of the crashes and documents from Zoox related to the vehicles.

NHTSA said it “is concerned that vehicles exhibiting unexpected rapid braking may increase the risk of crash,” and added the “risk is particularly acute to road users behind the Zoox vehicles who are unable to reasonably anticipate or react to the unexpected sudden braking.”

The investigation was launched after two cars fitted with Zoox’s self-driving equipment crashed, including one incident with a motorcycle that left the rider with minor injuries. As part of the probe, the NHTSA will evaluate the company’s self-driving cars and their performance around crosswalks and “around vulnerable road users,” reports Reuters.

The probe affects 500 Zoox cars, including a fleet of Toyota Highlanders outfitted with the tech, which were the cars caught up in the crashes.

4th Gear: Nissan Is Done Developing Gas Engines

Not wanting to be left out in the Japanese automaker news this morning, Nissan has decided that now is the right moment to announce that it’s going to stop developing new gas engines and will instead focus all its efforts on electric powertrains, according to a report from Drive.

The Leaf maker will no longer develop any new gasoline- or diesel-powered engines, instead claiming that its “future is EV.” As Drive reports:

“Our future is EV,” Francois Bailly, senior vice-president and chief planning officer for AMIEO said. “e-Power is a stepping stone to get there, and each market will go at their own pace.

“We’re not investing in new powertrain for ICE, that’s for sure.”

While a few years ago, a decision like this would have seemed like common sense, with countries around the world looking to ban sales of new gas-powered cars in the coming years, today it seems a little more rogue. In recent months, EV sales have faltered and automakers across America have pushed back plans for new electric models and even announced a shift in focus away from fully battery-powered cars and are instead looking into more hybrid options.

As it stands, Nissan currently only offers two fully-electric models here in the U.S. There’s the Leaf, which was an early pioneer of the electric revolution, and the battery-powered Ariya SUV, which launched in 2022.

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