Investor's Corner

Tesla holds amid Model 3 leasing rollout, Standard+ availability in Europe and China

Tesla stock (NASDAQ:TSLA) appears to be showing some stability this Friday amidst the release of new updates about the Model 3, including details about leasing options for the best-selling and acclaimed all-electric sedan.

The Model 3’s leasing options are a bit different from conventional leasing practices since customers will not be given the option to purchase the vehicle after the lease period is over. Instead, Tesla noted that cars coming off their leases will be used for the Tesla Network, a full self-driving ride-sharing service that is expected to compete against companies like Uber and Lyft.

Tesla’s announcement also heralded the use of Autopilot as a standard feature in every electric car the company produces. The update will increase the prices of vehicles save for the now-off-menu Standard Model 3, but it does ensure that all Tesla customers moving forward will get to enjoy Traffic Aware Cruise Control and Autosteer, two features that were previously reserved for owners who paid extra for Autopilot.

Together with Tesla’s new updates to its vehicle lineup is the company’s release of the affordable Standard Plus Model 3 to Europe and China. This could result in a good number of orders for the electric sedan in the two regions, considering that the Standard Plus variant is a true bang-for-your-buck vehicle, being priced competitively while still retaining many of the higher-priced Model 3 versions’ premium features.

Following an unsourced report from the Nikkei Asian Review on Thursday which alleged that Panasonic is freezing investments in Gigafactory 1, Tesla has released a response, clarifying that demand for battery cells continue to outpace supply. Tesla noted that it is working with Panasonic to improve output in Gigafactory 1 by optimizing the facility’s existing production equipment.

“Both Tesla and Panasonic continue to invest substantial funds into Gigafactory. That said, we believe there is far more output to be gained from improving existing production equipment than was previously estimated. We are seeing significant gains from upgrading existing lines to increase output, which allows Tesla and Panasonic to achieve the same output with less spent on new equipment purchases. However, we will, of course, continue to make new investments in Gigafactory 1, as needed. Most importantly, contrary to what is implied in this report, our demand for cells continues to outpace supply. It remains the fundamental constraint on Tesla vehicle and Powerwall/Powerpack production,” Tesla said.

Tesla is scheduled to release its first quarter financial report and earnings call this coming April 24 at  2:30 p.m. Pacific Time (5:30 p.m. Eastern Time). Elon Musk has proven to be quite conservative with Tesla’s finances in Q1, stating back in March that he does not expect Tesla to be profitable. Nevertheless, the earlier-than-expected date of the Q1 earnings call invokes some sense of optimism, considering that the company has shown a tendency to release its financial reports early in quarters where its results are better than expected.

As of writing, Tesla stock is trading -0.21% at $267.92 per share.

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

Tesla holds amid Model 3 leasing rollout, Standard+ availability in Europe and China
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