Investor's Corner

Tesla valuation should not be benchmarked against traditional automakers, top analyst says

Tesla’s valuation (NASDAQ: TSLA) should not be benchmarked against traditional automakers, as it could be “misleading,” top analyst Gene Munster said.

“Using traditional auto as a benchmark for how to value Tesla is misleading,” Munster, an analyst for Loup Ventures, said on CNBC. “Not misleading in the sense of trying to steer people in the wrong direction. I think it is just the wrong lens.”

Indeed, Tesla could be looked at as a technology company more than an actual automotive company, even when talking about its cars. As Munster said later in the interview, Teslas are essentially “computers on wheels” instead of automobiles. Tesla revolutionized the way vehicles are perceived, as their Over-the-Air software updates are just one of many examples of how the cars are more like an iPhone than they are like a Ford Fusion.

Munster goes on to indicate that Tesla investors may not feel pressure until a company like Apple gets involved in electric vehicles, simply because the company will have a more credible threat from Apple due to its software expertise.

“The real thing that should keep Tesla investors up at night is not about GM. It’s about what eventually…Apple, if they, in fact, get into the business…Those are the companies, it’s going to be the tech companies that are going to redefine this [sector],” Munster continued.

Apple has rumoredly had several preliminary talks with other automakers, like Toyota, to develop an electric vehicle. The company has not yet announced any official plans to release an EV, but speculation indicates there have been some talks within Apple to develop a car. With Munster’s assertion that Apple could enter the business in several years, it is a credible thought the company could be a worry for Tesla down the road just because of the software expertise. However, Tesla will have a leg up for many decades based on its manufacturing prowess, which other analysts, like Dan Ives of Wedbush, have said is “a massive position of strength.”

Tesla manufacturing prowess, stock split plans indicate ‘massive position of strength:’ Wedbush

Despite adopting electrification models, with some even using Tesla’s business model as a template, traditional automakers have not been able to catch up to Tesla due to the company’s newfound manufacturing advantages and software expertise. Volkswagen, among others, has encountered software issues since launching their EVs, most notably with the ID.3 in 2020.

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Tesla valuation should not be benchmarked against traditional automakers, top analyst says
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