Investor's Corner

Tesla stock stays resilient amid NYT’s TSLA short-seller-centered piece, Lucid Motors’ $1B Saudi-backed funding

Tesla stock (NASDAQ:TSLA) is showing its resilience as it heads towards the final two weeks of September, despite the company being on the receiving end of yet another short-seller-centered piece from a major news outlet, and fellow EV-maker Lucid Motors gaining $1 billion worth of funding from the Saudi Public Investment Fund.

Just a couple of weeks after Reuters published an article at the end of August celebrating the work being done by a number of Tesla short-sellers, The New York Times has now published a TSLA short-seller-centered article of its own. The piece, which was posted on Monday, featured some of Tesla’s staunchest critics, including George Noble of Noble Capital Investors, Gabe Hoffman or Accipiter Capital, and Mark B. Spiegel of Stanphyl Capital.

The article outlined the thesis of the company’s short-sellers, including arguments about TSLA stock being overvalued, the company’s “cash burn,” and Elon Musk not being “mentally fit” to lead the company. The piece also discussed the emerging bear thesis questioning the demand for Tesla’s vehicles like the Model 3, due to sightings of cars being stored in areas like the Burbank Airport.

“That’s inventory. Everything they produce is supposed to be delivered or in transit on the way to the customer. If there’s nothing wrong with demand, why are there all these cars in Burbank? Something doesn’t add up,” Hoffman said.

The Burbank Airport is known as an overflow lot for Tesla’s vehicles, where cars are stored while they wait for delivery. When the publication asked if Tesla could address the doubts raised about inventory, company spokesman Dave Arnold sent back a statement to the NYT reading a simple message — “We will get back to you shortly.”

This Monday, future Tesla rival Lucid Motors also received $1 billion worth of funding from Saudi Arabia’s Investment Fund, the same fund that bought a 5% stake in Tesla earlier this year, and the same fund which formed a good part of Elon Musk’s now-infamous “funding secured” tweet. The $1 billion investment is set to finance the electric car startup as it aims to get its first vehicle, the Lucid Air, ready for a commercial launch in 2020.

The deal is a notable win for Lucid Motors, which has, for the past year, struggled to secure funding that would allow it to start making its vehicles. Under its agreement with the Saudi fund, Lucid is expected to use the funding to complete the engineering development and testing of the Lucid Air, build its factory in Casa Grande, AZ, and start the global rollout of its retail strategy beginning in North America. The funding is also expected to help the company start the production of the Air.

Lucid Motors chief technology officer Peter Rawlinson, who used to be an executive at Tesla, noted in a statement to The Verge that the company would be aiming to push the electric car industry forward.

“The convergence of new technologies is reshaping the automobile, but the benefits have yet to be truly realized. This is inhibiting the pace at which sustainable mobility and energy are adopted. At Lucid, we will demonstrate the full potential of the electric connected vehicle in order to push the industry forward,” he said.

As of writing, Tesla stock is trading up 1.19 at $298.57 per share. 

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

Tesla stock stays resilient amid NYT’s TSLA short-seller-centered piece, Lucid Motors’ $1B Saudi-backed funding
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