Wall Street analysts have been, for the most part, leery of Tesla’s assurance that it will post a profit this quarter. Elon Musk is starting to win at least some over.
Gene Munster, a veteran securities analyst now at Loup Ventures, said on an interview on CNBC that based on increased production of Tesla’s Model 3s, he expects the company to be profitable by September.
Munster’s take followed another analyst, James Albertine of Consumer Edge Research, telling CNBC last week that he also expects the company to become profitable as early as this quarter. Albertine also cited Tesla’s increased production.
Most analysts, however, remain skeptical. The 20 analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are forecasting a consensus loss of $1.11 a share. In the third quarter of 2017, Tesla reported a net loss of $2.92 a share.
In May, Musk predicted that Tesla would turn profitable in the third quarter — a prediction he reiterated at Tesla’s shareholder meeting last month. “It’s really looking like we’re going to have positive GAAP net income next quarter,” he said. “And we do not expect to raise any incremental debt or equity.”
Musk also vowed to shareholders that Tesla would increase production of Model 3s to 5,000 vehicles a week. The company even erected a large tent on its Fremont site to expand housing new assembly line that could boost production of the vehicles.
“If they hit that [5,000] number, it’s going to equate to 48,000 model 3s produced in the September quarter. That should get them to profitability, slightly profitable,” Munster told CNBC. “It’s not going to be wildly profitable in September, I just want to warn everyone, but… it moves them in the right direction.”
There remains some evidence that Tesla may fall short of Musk’s ambitious goal. Last week, Reuters quoted several Tesla line workers as saying that the company is not producing enough Model 3s to meet projected goals. At most, Reuters said, Tesla is capable of producing about 4,200 cars a week.
Musk, of course, disagreed via tweet: