Tesla might have to 'fess up to reality and raise Model 3 prices, Goldman says
Get rid of Tesla, advised Goldman Sachs analysts in a Monday note to clients.
The investment banking giant downgraded shares from “Hold” to “Sell,” sending shares of the electric car giant down by nearly 5% in trading Monday. That accelerated a slide starting from Tesla’s worse-than-expected losses on better-than-expected earnings announced on Wednesday.
Although Tesla executives insisted that production of its highly anticipated mass-market Model 3 sedan was on track that day, the bullish sentiment that pushed Tesla shares up 26% since President Donald Trump’s election began to wane.
Goldman Sachs analysts led by David Tamberrino for instance said they expect Tesla shares to shed about 28% in value over the next six months, as compared to its Friday closing price.
That’s because investors have gotten ahead of themselves, driving shares up 42% since early December, as compared to the S&P 500’s 8% rise in the same period, he wrote. News in the past few months about Tesla’s potential benefits from tax cuts, ties to Trump, and signs that it was preparing for Model 3 production, have helped push its stock to an all-time high.
But Goldman Sachs says no, it doesn’t think Model 3 production is on track, and added that tax reforms will take time to show up in earnings. The team also reiterated that they considered the acquisition of SolarCity as a debt-laden, unnecessary distraction that could weaken Tesla’s ability to hit production targets. Moreover, the Goldman analysts think the Model 3 will retail for $45,000 on average rather than the expected $35,000—curbing demand.
“We believe the Model 3 will have a more subdued launch curve than the company is targeting as some suppliers have expressed concern around final designs not being locked down. As a result, we expect the company to achieve mass market volumes (i.e., above 100k annualized run-rate) in the [fourth quarter of 2018 vs. Tesla’s target of fourth quarter 2017.]”
The team added that historically, shares of Tesla have traded in cycles between $180 to $280, rising for three months before taking about seven months to fall.
On Monday, a team of Cowen and Co. analysts led by Jeffrey Osborne also released a note reflecting on Tesla’s fourth quarter earnings call. The team, which also has the equivalent of a “Sell” rating on the carmaker, argues that “a lot more that can go wrong than can go right as the company transitions into Mr. Musk’s greater vision.”