Detroit veteran Sandy Munro of Munro & Associates is reportedly being threatened with a lawsuit over his teardown and analysis of the Tesla Model 3. The possible lawsuit was mentioned briefly by Autoline Network host John McElroy during a recent episode of Ask Autoline on YouTube.
McElroy only provided very few details about Munro’s legal troubles, simply stating that the threat of a lawsuit was coming from an entity connected to the Model 3 teardown and analysis. The legal troubles of the teardown expert have resulted in several speculations about the identity of the possible plaintiff, with Tesla critics at one point suggesting that Tesla itself was probably behind the threat of legal action against Munro.
These speculations were promptly curbed by CNBC reporter Lora Kolodny, who was able to get in touch with Munro himself through email. Kolodny clarified in a Twitter post that Munro is not under threat of being sued by Tesla, nor by any TSLA bulls or bears; rather, it is from a corporation that would remain unnamed for now. Munro also informed the CNBC reporter that he had signed a contract limiting his ability to do press, at least for the time being.
“This has nothing to do with [Tesla] or the different factions; bulls or bear(s). There is nothing I can do until they publish their report,” Munro wrote.
Munro’s legal woes resulting from his teardown of the Model 3 comes as investment bank UBS concluded that Tesla would not be able to make any money from the $35,000 base trim of the electric sedan. UBS’ findings stand in stark contrast with those of Munro’s, who estimated that the $35,000 Standard trim Model 3 could give Tesla an 18% profit. It should be noted that both UBS and Munro & Associates are only estimating the costs of the base Model 3, particularly since Tesla is expected to start production of the electric car’s Standard trim by Q1 2019.
While UBS and Munro & Associates have their differences about the profitability of the $35,000 Standard trim Model 3, both firms agree that the technology present in the electric car is beyond that of competitors like the Chevy Bolt EV. When explaining why he had to “eat crow” with regards to the Model 3 (he was initially skeptical of the vehicle due to its fit and finish), Munro noted that Tesla’s battery pack in the electric car is the best he has seen to date. This sentiment was shared by UBS in its study of the Model 3, with the bank stating that Tesla’s battery packs have a cost advantage due to its cylindrical cells, which are more economical than the pouch cells Chevrolet opted to use in the Bolt.
Just like Munro, UBS was also impressed with Tesla’s powertrain in the Model 3, which was developed entirely in-house. UBS noted that this is completely different from GM’s strategy with the Bolt, since LG supplied roughly 90% of the electric car’s powertrain content. Part of UBS’ report was the conclusion that Tesla delivered “the best powertrain at the lowest cost,” and that the Model 3’s powertrain is “next-gen military-grade tech years ahead of its peers.”
UBS’ report claims that Tesla would be losing about $5,900 for every $35,000 Standard trim Model 3 it sells. Nevertheless, it must also be noted that when UBS conducted an analysis of the Chevy Bolt last year, the investment bank concluded that GM was losing $7,400 on every Bolt that was sold at its $37,000 price tag before government incentives. UBS was quite optimistic about GM’s plans for a self-driving car ride-sharing service, which could give the veteran automaker recurring revenue. That said, UBS is also not accounting for Tesla’s possible revenue from the Tesla Network, the company’s planned self-driving car ride-sharing service.
Watch Autoline’s John McElroy briefly discuss Sandy Munro’s possible legal troubles resulting from his Model 3 analysis in the video below.