Tesla executive departures ‘a gut punch’ and ‘unexpected’: Wedbush

(Credit: Jeff Roberts)

Tesla’s departures of Senior Vice President of Powertrain Drew Baglino and Vice President of Public Policy and Business Development Rohan Patel is being viewed as “a gut punch” and “unexpected” by Wedbush in a new note from Dan Ives.

Along with the at least 10 percent reduction in headcount, Tesla is going through “a dark day,” and next week’s Earnings Call now is set to be one of the biggest in the company’s history as it navigates between growth periods.

For Ives, Baglino’s departure is significant due to his potential influence on the “Model 2” program. According to some fans and analysts, the mass-market $25,000 vehicle’s moniker is the Model 2, but Tesla has not officially called the vehicle this.

Ives writes:

“Baglino is an absolute gut punch loss in our view as he was instrumental in the Powertrain and Energy initiatives at Tesla and was viewed by many as key to the Model 2 initiative over the next few years. The pressure on the stock today is being exacerbated by the Baglino news, which was very unexpected.”

The cost-cutting strategy of eliminating at least 14,000 employees is a proactive move as Q1 deliveries were “disastrous,” Ives writes in the note. However, damage control is necessary for the Earnings Call, which is scheduled for next week:

“The Street wants and NEEDS answers next week on Tesla’s 1Q conference call next Tuesday, April 23rd, after the bell, as the string of bad news over the last few months has been a horror show for investors in the Tesla story. We need to hear the rationale for the cost-cutting, the strategy going forward, product roadmap, and an overall vision from Musk otherwise, many investors might head for the elevators during this Category 5 perfect storm of weak demand Tesla is seeing globally in 2024.”

Wedbush says that the departure of the two key executives is “a fork in the road” for Musk as Tesla will need to get through the turbulence it has experienced or it will face darker days ahead.

Ives and Wedbush reiterated their $300 price target and an ‘Outperform’ rating but said, “The future of Tesla is a bit murky now.”

Tesla will need to give a clear roadmap and strategic vision for the Model 2, or it could face darker days ahead.

Tesla is down 5.12 percent at 3:06 p.m. EDT.

Disclosure: Joey Klender owns TSLA stock.

I’d love to hear from you! If you have any comments, concerns, or questions, please email me at joey@teslarati.com. You can also reach me on Twitter @KlenderJoey, or if you have news tips, you can email us at tips@teslarati.com.

Joey Klender: Joey has been a journalist covering electric mobility at TESLARATI since August 2019. In his time at TESLARATI, Joey has broken several big stories, including the first images of the Tesla Model S Plaid, the imminent release of the 4680 Model Y through EPA certification, and several expansions to the Lucid AMP-1 factory in Arizona, to name a few. His stories have been featured in several publications, including Yahoo! Finance, Fox News, CNET, and Seeking Alpha. In his spare time, Joey is playing golf, watching MMA, or cheering on any of his favorite sports teams, including the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles, Miami Heat, Washington Capitals, and Penn State Nittany Lions. You can get in touch with joey at joey@teslarati.com. He is also on Twitter @KlenderJoey.
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