Investor's Corner

Tesla embraced by Wall St. as rave reviews for Model 3 Performance continue to roll in

Nearly a week after Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) surprised Wall Street with a relatively better-than-expected earnings report and a more humble Elon Musk, investors held steady, skirting any stock sell-off to retain a 15% gain or roughly $7 billion in market cap. Investor confidence can be attributed to Wall Street’s more optimistic outlook on the company’s immediate future, as well as the consistently positive reviews being received by the Model 3 Performance.

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas recently maintained an equal-weight rating on the company’s shares and a $291 price target, citing a higher forecast for Tesla’s deliveries in the third quarter. Jonas still believes that Tesla would need to raise around $2.5 billion sometime this year, but he sees the electric car maker delivering 50,400 Model 3 in Q3, more than 30% up from his previous delivery forecast of 33,600 for the third quarter.

“It seems the company has been forced to think more creatively about how to run a leaner operation following its various operational and manufacturing issues. Tesla appears to be applying a greater amount of cash discipline,” Jonas said.

Tesla’s stock has held steady since the company’s successful Q2 earnings call, which saw the Elon Musk and other executives affirm their goals of making Tesla cash flow positive in the third quarter moving forward. Contrary to Jonas’ expectations, Musk was firm in the idea that Tesla will not be raising equity at any time soon, with projects such as Gigafactory 3 in China being funded by local debt.

“We do not – we will not be raising any equity at any point, at least that’s – I have no expectation of doing so, do not plan to do so. For China, I think, our default plan will be to use essentially a loan from the local banks in China and fund the Gigafactory in Shanghai with local debt, essentially. And we certainly could raise money, but I think we don’t need to and we – yeah, I think, it’s better to – it is better discipline not to,” Musk said.

Amidst what appears to be a stabilization in TSLA stock are rave reviews from major auto publications about the Model 3 Performance. The Wall Street Journal‘s Dan Neil described the car as a “magnificent” piece of auto engineering that is “representative of the next step in the history of autos.” Kim Reynolds of Motor Trend, while describing a brief sprint in a freeway ramp, stated that “in maybe 120 wheel revolutions, a high-performance hierarchy has been rattled.” Veteran auto journalist Matthew DeBord wrote in a test drive of the vehicle that with the Model 3 Performance, “velocity simply happens… like you’ve Vulcan mind-melded with the laws of physics.”

Even Jalopnik, a publication that is never one to hesitate when pointing out Tesla’s flaws, gave a positive review of the vehicle, with journalist Patrick George calling the car “the most impressive Tesla I’ve driven to date, and easily the most fun.” Mike Ballaban, also from Jalopnik, even raved about the car’s seats, stating that the Model 3 now “takes the crown for Best Seats,” beating out Volvo’s legendary seats in the S60.  

The rave reviews showering the Model 3 Performance could be seen as a validation of the massive sprung structure that Tesla built near the end of the second quarter to hit its goal of producing 5,000 units of the electric car in a week. Among the assumptions expressed by Tesla’s critics about the new assembly line was that they would result in vehicles with poor build quality. Tesla VP for trucks Jerome Guillen stated in the Q2 earnings call that all Model 3 Performance are assembled in the sprung structure, but so far, there have been no complaints or even comments about build quality in all the professional reviews that have been written of the vehicle. 

The Model 3 Performance is quickly developing into one of Tesla’s most compelling vehicles to date. Apart from the fun factor, it provides due to its nimble nature, the vehicle’s performance figures are also starting to impress. The Model 3 Performance has been recorded showing numbers superior to Tesla’s estimates, with a recent 0-60 mph run with a full battery being listed at 3.18 seconds, far quicker than its listed 3.5-second 0-60 time.

Tesla embraced by Wall St. as rave reviews for Model 3 Performance continue to roll in
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