Tesla shares (NASDAQ:TSLA) might be facing headwinds in the market recently due to concerns over the company’s performance in the first quarter and Elon Musk’s ongoing issues with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but a Wall Street analyst has argued that the electric car maker’s operations are doing better than expected.
Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, together with his peer Strecker Backe, recently took a tour of Tesla’s Fremont plant in California and the company’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. By the end of their visit and analysis, the two analysts doubled down on their bull case, partly due to the progress that the company has made with its battery and electric vehicle production.
A visit to Tesla’s Fremont factory will not be complete without a tour of the infamous tent housing an assembly line for the Model 3. While the sprung structure has remained polarizing and a constant target of ridicule from Tesla’s critics, Ives noted that the tent-based assembly line is actually performing very well, with processes in the location being robust and streamlined. “It was jaw-dropping in how efficient that process has now become in the tent. This is not a company that’s slowing down production,” Ives noted.
The Wedbush analysts were equally impressed by Tesla’s progress in its operations at Gigafactory 1, where it produces batteries and drive units for the Model 3. Ives wrote in a recent report to clients that based on what he has seen, Gigafactory 1’s current output will be able to support a steady production rate of 7,000 Model 3 per week, thanks to “more automation, robotics, data analysis, and streamlined capacity” at the site.
Commenting on Tesla’s recent challenges, which include Elon Musk and the SEC’s ongoing skirmishes, the Wedbush analyst argued that the electric car maker’s long-term strategy remains stable. “I view this as a company where, it was never going to be an easy road for Tesla. A lot of the issues are unfortunate that are happening with the SEC and Musk, and it’s created a sideshow that’s been a bit of an overhang on the name. But I look at the name as the first inning of what I view as a massive EV transformation that’s going to happen over the next decade,” Ives said.
Tesla is currently conducting its end of quarter push for Q1 2019. The company is hard at work delivering the Model 3 to China and Europe, the vehicle’s first two foreign markets. A leaked email from Tesla senior vice president Sanjay Shah also suggested that Tesla is rallying its workers to deliver up to 30,000 vehicles during the second half of March.
Dan Ives has a price target of $390 per share for Tesla.
Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.