Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) overproduction in the first quarter of 2020 would usually draw negativity. But Ben Kallo, an analyst at Milwaukee-based Baird, sees the oversupply as a way for Tesla to maintain vehicle deliveries and positive growth while its vehicle production plant in Fremont remains closed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kallo reiterated his “Neutral” rating for the Silicon Valley-based auto manufacturer in a note to investors on Friday, while also discussing a timeline for production at the company’s Fremont factory. “We will look for updated commentary on a timeline for restarting production, but do think the company is positioned to manage ~2 quarters of downtime,” Kallo added.
Additionally, Kallo believes Tesla’s cash burn could be around $400 million for the first quarter, as the company produced 102,672 vehicles but delivered only 88,400 of them.
However, Q1’s excess in production could be a positive for Tesla. With the Fremont factory closed for production currently, the current inventory within the United States does not change. This excess in vehicles leaves about 14,300 already-built cars, all of which are ready for delivery and could help keep the company afloat amidst the production shutdown.
Kallo added, “the inventory build will likely enable TSLA to continue delivering cars despite production downtime in Q2, which we view favorably.”
Additionally, the economic recession that the COVID-19 virus has caused led Kallo to believe that Tesla’s lead in the electric vehicle sector will only grow. Major carmakers might have to delay their electric vehicle initiatives to maintain profitability and recover from production downtime, according to MarketWatch.
Tesla shareholders have enjoyed a rare period of growth in valuation this April despite the ongoing pandemic. The stock dipped as low as $454.47 on April 2, only to record a string of ten straight days in the black on Wall Street.
Tesla’s car production facility in Fremont and its solar plant, known as Giga Buffalo in New York, both remained closed amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The company announced on March 23 that its production facilities would be closed for an extended period starting March 24. These measures are a way to keep employees safe during the pandemic.
However, Tesla has announced that Fremont and Giga Buffalo will both reopen on May 4, along with the company’s Giga Nevada facility. which produces powertrains and batteries for the Model 3 sedan. All of the facilities will enforce additional health and safety measures, including on-site temperature monitoring of all employees and routine disinfecting of door handles.
Tesla will hold its Q1 2020 earnings call next week on Wednesday, April 29. The company plans to elaborate on its first quarter of 2020, which was the most successful opening three months to a year in company history.
At the time of writing, TSLA is up 0.74 to $710.85.
Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.