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Tesla (TSLA) shows recovery as Musk seemingly confirms positive August sales

Tesla shares (NASDAQ:TSLA) are showing some recovery after taking a tumble yesterday amidst Elon Musk’s apparent support of a positive report estimating the sales figures of the Model 3, S, and X in August 2018, as well as an announcement of new orders for the Tesla Semi.

Musk’s Twitter update was posted as a retweet of sales estimates published by electric vehicle-themed website InsideEVs, which posted its monthly US EV sales scorecards for August. The website estimates that Tesla’s entire line of vehicles dominated the country’s electric car sales during the month, with the Model 3 being 1st, the Model S being 2nd, and the Model X being the 3rd best-selling EV in the US.

While InsideEVs‘ scorecards do not include the official August sales figures from Tesla and other vehicles like the Chevy Bolt EV, the publication’s estimates appear to have been approved by Musk in his tweet. This seems to have positively affected investor sentiment, as the company’s shares recovered as much as 2.05% in Thursday’s pre-market.

Tesla might have hit a breakthrough with Model 3 production after the end of Q2 2018, but the company is still only around halfway through its target of ultimately manufacturing 10,000 Model 3 per week. Evercore ISI analysts who visited the Fremont factory last month noted that Tesla would likely be able to ramp to 7,000-8,000 Model 3 per week with minimal CapEx, and with the $35,000 base Model 3 still on the horizon, it appears that Tesla’s electric sedan is just getting started in its disruption of the passenger car market.

Apart from the positive August sales estimates for the Model 3, S, and X, Tesla also received a new set of orders for a vehicle that is still waiting for release. In an update on Thursday, Walmart Inc’s Canadian unit announced that it would be buying an additional 30 units of the Tesla Semi as part of its initiative to launch an emissions-free fleet by 2028. The 20 new orders for the Tesla Semi are set to be added to the 5 trucks Walmart ordered for its US fleet and the first 10 it ordered for its Canadian unit back in November. Walmart Canada noted that it is planning to utilize 20 Tesla Semis to support its fleet base in Mississauga, Ontario. The remaining 20 left for the Canadian fleet will be moved to Surrey, British Columbia.

The Tesla Semi gets test driven. [Credit: Emile Bouret/Instagram]

The Tesla Semi is expected to begin production sometime in 2019, and Tesla is already on full throttle testing the vehicle on America’s roads. The Semi’s hand-built, carbon-fiber prototype has been making the rounds in several states lately, and it even visited some of the companies that have placed reservations for the vehicle, such as UPS, Ruan Transportation Management Systems, and J.B. Hunt.

The Tesla Model 3 is already disrupting the US’ passenger car market. GoodCarBadCar, an auto sales tracking website, ranked the electric sedan as the country’s 5th best-selling passenger car in August, up two places from its rank last July. The Model 3 is also the only electric vehicle that made it to GCBC‘s overall Top 20 best-selling vehicles list for the past month, which includes trucks like the Ford F-150 and SUVs like the Honda CR-V.

In the same way that the Model 3 is disrupting the passenger car segment, the Tesla Semi also has the potential to disrupt the US’ trucking industry. The trucking market is vast, handling the transportation of 71% of food, retail goods, construction supplies, and other cargo delivered every day — and it is still growing. The American Trucking Associations’ American Trucking Trends 2018 report, for one, revealed that the US trucking market generated $700.3 billion in economic activity in 2017, 3.5% more compared to 2016 when the trucking industry generated $676.6 billion. If Tesla can tap into this market with the Semi, the all-electric truck could prove to be a very lucrative vehicle for the company.

As of writing, Tesla shares are up 3.36% at $290.16 per share.

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

Tesla (TSLA) shows recovery as Musk seemingly confirms positive August sales
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