Investor's Corner

Tesla pushes higher as investors see confidence in ability to scale Model 3 production

Tesla shares (NASDAQ:TSLA) have continued to rise, rallying as high as 3.96% and trading at $372.68 per share on Monday’s intraday amid investors’ improved sentiment on the Elon Musk-led company’s capability to scale Model 3 production and a new, optimistic outlook from Wall Street analysts.

Tesla stock has seen a meteoric rise since the company held its 2018 Annual Shareholder Meeting. Since then, Tesla’s shares had shot to levels that have not been seen since September 2017 — the month when Tesla reached its all-time high of $385.00 per share. As of writing, Tesla stock has risen 17.78% year-to-date, beating the S&P 500, which has gained 3.3% year-to-date so far. Tesla shorts have taken a beating as well, with short-sellers losing over $2 billion in  mark-to-market losses as of last Wednesday. 

Part of the improvement in investor sentiment lies in the fact that since the second quarter began, Tesla started making real progress with its capability to scale the production of the Model 3. The Model 3 has been haunting Tesla for almost a year now, with the vehicle’s production numbers always falling below the company’s target every quarter. At the end of Q1 2018, however, Tesla was only a few hundred Model 3 short from its goal. Since then, CEO Elon Musk and the Tesla team have buckled down to overcome the compact electric car’s bottlenecks in both Fremont and at Gigafactory 1. 

After production shutdowns that made way for more robots to build even more cars, a restructuring that got rid of redundancies in its operations, the opening of orders for the Model 3 Performance and Dual Motor AWD, as well as the completion of another Model 3 assembly line in three weeks, Tesla finally seems to be in its element with the compact electric car’s manufacturing. With Musk’s tweet last Saturday featuring the first Model 3 Performance Dual Motor being rolled off an assembly line at a tent outside the main Fremont factory, it was evident that Tesla has a clear plan to scale the production of the compact electric car to 5,000 a week before the end of the second quarter. 

The first Model 3 Performance Dual Motor rolls off the assembly line. [Credit: Elon Musk/Twitter]

In a note to clients on Monday, Instinet analysts wrote that Tesla would likely hit a production rate of 5,000 Model 3 per week by the end of Q2 2018. The analysts, led by Romit Shah, stated, however, that Tesla might not be able to attain a sustained production output until some point in Q3 2018. Nevertheless, Shah expects Tesla to hit Elon Musk’s goal of achieving profitability at some point in Q3 2018 or Q4 2018.

“We see continued, meaningful progress on Model 3 production alongside our expectation for improved gross margins. This should offer Tesla a chance to achieve its financial targets in 2H18 (such as cash flow positivity and GAAP profitability),” the analysts wrote.

As of writing, Tesla shares are trading up 2.89% at $368.53 per share.

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

Tesla pushes higher as investors see confidence in ability to scale Model 3 production
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