Tesla stock: analysts cut targets, mull demand and growth after Q4 miss

Credit: Tesla

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) analysts are responding to the company’s fourth-quarter delivery miss by cutting price targets and mulling over demand and growth.

Tesla reported its delivery and production figures for 2022 and the fourth quarter yesterday, reporting 405,278 deliveries and 439,701 produced during the year’s final three months. Tesla delivered 1,313,851 cars in 2022, producing 1,369,611.

Analysts expected closer to 415,000 deliveries in Q4. Although Tesla recorded its biggest year to date and its most successful quarter in company history, they are concerned the company could be facing demand issues despite still holding a majority of the U.S. electric vehicle market and performing well in competitive markets like China and Europe.

JPMorgan analyst Ryan Brinkman lowered his price target on Tesla from $150 to $125 while noting to clients that subsequent delivery misses could be potentially detrimental to the long-term outlook on the stock.

Wedbush’s Dan Ives said Tesla and Musk should outline attainable and realistic delivery targets in 2023. Ives believes 40 percent delivery growth in 2023 would be “respectable,” but the miss in Q4 does not present any super positive connotations as Tesla heads into the new year. “A miss is a miss,” he said.

Goldman Sachs also reduced its Tesla price target from $235 to $205. However, one of its main concerns was whether Tesla could combat potential demand slumps, which it said in its note to investors that it believes the automaker can recover, with indicators pointing to Q2 2023, the firm said.

Morgan Stanley reiterated its $250 price target. “Tesla’s 4Q deliveries, while slightly higher than we had expected, are broadly consistent with our views that EV supply may be recovering faster than EV demand, reflecting a material narrative change in the scarcity of EVs on a global basis,” Adam Jonas said.

Morgan Stanley expected Tesla to deliver 399,000 units in Q4.

2023: Make or Break year for Tesla?

2023 has plenty of catalysts for Tesla, at least according to the company’s own agenda. This year, Tesla plans to launch production of the Cybertruck, announce a new Gigafactory location in North America, and update the Model 3 sedan.

Cybertruck production will be limited at first but is scheduled to hit “mass production” by the end of the year. While significant impacts on Tesla’s delivery numbers will likely not be made by the Cybertruck this year, the rollout of the vehicle will be monumental as it recently reached a two-year delay. Slated to begin deliveries in late 2020, Tesla delayed production as it navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. Production was delayed further while Tesla focused on scaling production of the Model Y at Gigafactory Texas and withstood uncertain economic tides in 2022.

New Gigafactory locations, especially in North America, could prove to be a significant catalyst for the stock as it would indicate demand strengthening for Tesla. Reports have suggested Mexico will end up being the location for Tesla’s next production facility, but the company has not confirmed this.

Disclosure: Joey Klender is a TSLA Shareholder.

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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