Tesla mega bull Ron Baron has an aggressive timeline for the company’s plans for a $25,000 electric vehicle.
Ron Baron has been one of Tesla’s biggest investors and is one of Elon Musk’s most outspoken believers and supporters. Last week, we detailed his comments on his portfolio’s growth due to Tesla stock and his outlook for SpaceX, Musk’s space exploration company.
Baron’s sentiments were reiterated during an interview with CNBC this morning when he said that Tesla would start building a $25,000 vehicle within 18 months, an extremely aggressive timeline considering recent comments by Musk.
The Tesla CEO detailed during the Q3 Earnings Call that he expects to be a challenging production ramp for the Cybertruck and how high-interest rates make monthly payments too high for the average consumer.
Offering a new affordable model is the key to unlocking access to new customers and driving Tesla’s yearly production and deliveries toward 20 million units per year.
“Wait ’til you see what’s going to happen when all of a sudden they start selling cars, instead of $40,000 a piece, for $25,000 a piece, which is going to happen in about a year or year-and-a-half,” Baron said.
He also added that Tesla plans to build 5 million units a year of the “Model 2,” which is what he referred to the $25,000 as.
Baron has a good grip on the Tesla story, and we know the mass-market vehicle has been worked on since Q2 when the automaker detailed the “next-gen platform” as “in development.” With that being said, it is definitely an aggressive expectation that Tesla would start producing a new car in just 18 months.
This is especially pertinent when you consider Musk believes it will take 18 months just to get the Cybertruck to volume production:
“I would be very disappointed if it took us — and that would be shocking if it took us three years. But 18 months from initial deliveries to have — to reach volume and reach prosperity with an immense — I can’t tell you how much the blood, sweat, and tears level required to achieve. That is just staggering.”
While it is absolutely possible for Tesla to do so, especially as it has talked about building the $25,000 vehicle in Shanghai, Berlin, Texas, and Mexico, the Cybertruck ramp and overall macroeconomic conditions seem to be where things get interesting.
Musk said the Cybertruck would be one of the most complex and challenging projects in manufacturing and that expectations should be tempered because there will likely be growing pains with it. It could take until the end of 2024 for things to really pick up.
“But this difficulty going from a prototype to volume production is like 10,000 percent harder to get to volume production than to make the prototype in the first place,” Musk said during the Q3 Earnings Call. “And then it is even harder than that to reach positive cash flow. That is why there have not been new car start-ups that have been successful for 100 years apart from Tesla. So, I just want to temper expectations for Cybertruck.”
It seems unlikely that Tesla would take on a new vehicle manufacturing project with the Cybertruck ramp and the construction of the new factory in Nuevo Leon.
However, Tesla has pulled off some crazy timelines before, but it has also been late to others. It is never out of the realm for something crazy to happen, especially as the project is already moving along in Austin, according to Walter Issacson’s biography about Musk.
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Quotes via Motley Fool