Alexander Potter, analyst for Piper Jaffrays, said in a note to clients Tuesday that Tesla has little to fear when it comes to being competitive in China. In fact, Potter went as far as saying that “nobody can compete” with the California-based electric car maker in the word’s largest auto market, largely due to the company’s product and brand reputation.
“After meeting with an electric vehicle (EV) trade group this week in Beijing, we still think Tesla has little to fear from Chinese brands, at least based on the current competitive landscape,” said Potter. Piper Jaffray reaffirmed its position on the company, giving Tesla shares an overweight rating and a price target of $386 per share, or roughly a 10 percent upside to Monday’s close. The firm has a buy rating for shares of TSLA.
“Branding and performance are just as important, and in this regard, we think nobody (least of all Chinese OEMs) can compete with TSLA.” reports CNBC. Goldman Sachs which has generally maintained a bearish outlook on Tesla raised their price target from $180 to $190 on Friday.
Despite a strong effort by local car manufacturers to bring electric cars to the market: the country is reportedly working on plans to ban gasoline and diesel vehicles, the product stands far apart from Tesla’s Model S and Model X currently being sold in China.
“Anyone who has taken a ride in a Chinese EV will tell you that, like most other Chinese sedans, these vehicles just aren’t compelling consumer products,” read the note from Piper Jaffrays.
In addition to Tesla’s positive brand reputation, the electric carmaker continues to make strides in the market by adapting to local standards. Just yesterday, Tesla announced that new Model S and Model X vehicles being produced specifically for China will have a charging port to support national charging standards. The company has also pledged to rapidly expand its high-powered, fast-charging Supercharger network in China, announcing that it will install 1,000 Superchargers in China by the end of the year. A recent sighting of what is likely to become the world’s largest Supercharger points to a 40 to 60-stall installation in Shanghai’s Commercial Centre.
Potter also notes in his report that China will have a mandate in 2019 for the number of electric vehicles being produced by auto makers. “Companies that fail to achieve the quotas will be able to buy credits from companies that exceed the quotas,” said Potter, giving Tesla yet another advantage over local competition. China sold 507,000 new energy vehicles in 2016, a 50 percent increase over the year prior.
Tesla stock is up roughly 64 percent this year.