Investor's Corner

Tesla shares jump amid $500 price target and Model 3 dual motor update

Tesla stock (NASDAQ:TSLA) is showing signs of recovery on Monday’s intraday, rising 5.23% and trading at $291.10 per share prior to the day’s opening bell. Tesla’s upswing came amidst a new vote of confidence from investment bank Berenberg, which raised its price target to $500 per share, signifying an 80% upside to Friday’s close.

Apart from raising its price target for TSLA stock from $470 to $500, Berenberg also predicted that the electric car maker and energy company would be able to achieve its 25% gross profit margin forecast for the Model 3. The investment bank reiterated its Buy rating for TSLA stock as well.

According to Berenberg analyst Alexander Haissl in a note on Friday, the assumption that Tesla Model S and Model X profit margins could be a basis for the Model 3 is flawed. Haissl noted that gains from lower labor content and capital and material use efficiencies would enable Tesla to hit its 25% goal.

“Model 3 gross margin to positively surprise. The widespread assumption that Model 3 margins can be directly inferred from Model S/X is inherently and almost totally flawed. Substantial gains from lower labor content, as well as capital and material use efficiencies, should allow Tesla to comfortably achieve a margin above 25% throughout the product cycle,” the analyst wrote.

Haissl also cited the Model 3’s more straightforward design and lower material costs as a means for Tesla to achieve profitability on the vehicle. The Berenberg analyst estimates that the labor cost for the Model 3 is likely around $1,000 per vehicle, compared to the $4,000 estimated labor costs for the Model S. This, according to Haissl, is due to Tesla’s “higher levels of automation and lower in-sourced content” in the Model 3 production line.

Most importantly, the Berenberg analyst downplayed fears and speculations that Tesla would be moving away from a more modernized production system.

“We think reports that Tesla is reversing its automated manufacturing strategy over-exaggerated the real changes to the production system. We expect Tesla to remain the battery technology leader, as traditional OEMs have shown little effort to commit meaningful capital into battery technology,” Haissl wrote.

Apart from Berenberg’s positive outlook, investor sentiment appears to have received a boost from Elon Musk’s announcement of the next two variants of the Model 3. Over the weekend, Musk revealed the specs and pricing of the compact electric car’s two new versions.

According to Musk, the Model 3 dual-motor AWD, which costs $54,000 without Autopilot, will be able to go from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds and have a top speed of 140 mph. The Model 3 Performance, on the other hand, will command a higher price of $78,000 without Autopilot. True to its name, the Model 3 Performance will have a top speed of 155 mph and be capable of sprinting to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds.

In later tweets during the weekend, Musk also explained the rather long wait for reservation holders who are holding out for the Model 3’s $35,000, standard-range version.

As of writing, TSLA stock is trading up 5.23% at $291.10 per share.

Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.

Tesla shares jump amid $500 price target and Model 3 dual motor update
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