Tesla Inc (TSLA) Still Looks Promising Over the Next 5 Years Despite Model 3 “Production Hell”

Loup Ventures' Gene Munster is not shaken by another Tesla Model 3 production numbers miss, continuing to be positive on the long-term potential.


Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has stumbled 4% in value since yesterday’s Model 3 production numbers fell through the cracks under expectations, which marks both the mass market electric vehicle’s second quarter and second miss on the electric car empire’s production targets. Should investors be running for the hills on a slow-to-roll Model 3 ramp?

Yesterday not only saw the electric car giant underwhelm on its fourth quarter delivery numbers, but likewise CEO Elon Musk’s company is once again delaying production targets on its Model 3 sedan.

The Tesla team commented, “As we continue to focus on quality and efficiency rather than simply pushing for the highest possible volume in the shortest period of time, we expect to have a slightly more gradual ramp through Q1, likely ending the quarter at a weekly rate of about 2,500 Model 3 vehicles,” adding, not to worry: “We intend to achieve the 5,000 per week milestone by the end of Q2.”

Keep in mind, just this last year saw Tesla already push back its production expectations of 5,000 cars each week for its model 3 to the close of the first quarter, which has since been postponed again to the close of the second quarter. Tesla has pointed a finger at “production bottlenecks” for its shortcomings on achieving Model 3 targets, of which the company notes that “major progress” has been accomplished.

Tesla management wrote that by the close of the fourth quarter of 2017, the production rate had hit a point where the pace “extrapolates to over 1,000 Model 3’s per week,” following suit with Musk’s previous intentions of looking for weekly Model 3 production to reach “in the thousands” by year’s end.

Musk already noted back in October that his electric car giant has been knee “deep in production hell” in the process of bringing the Model 3 to life.

Delivery-wise, Tesla landed at 29,870 vehicles in the fourth quarter, which includes 1,500 deliveries of its Model 3 sedan, which has the Street captivated with anticipation.

Gene Munster – dishing a bullish tech perspective from his research-driven, venture capital firm Loup Ventures – is absolutely unfazed here on the production numbers that failed to meet Street expectations, calling this an “expected miss” and actually finding the “production ramp encouraging.”

“The Model 3 has been available for two quarters, and in both quarters has missed production targets,” Munster acknowledges; and yet, the analyst stands tall in the bullish camp: “Despite these issues, we remain upbeat that Model 3 is beginning to ramp nicely.”

By Munster’s estimation, Model 3 production by week should look like: “1st week of Dec: 50; 2nd week of Dec: 175; 3rd week of Dec: 420; 4th week of Dec: 793.” To the research analyst, this bodes well for Tesla, as he writes, “This ramp has the markings of the exponential production curve that Musk has promised. In other words, the ramp is beginning, albeit later than expected.”

“Overall, tonight’s news has little impact on how we think about the Tesla model over the next 5 years,” contends Munster, who surmises with confidence on the electric car empire’s future: “These results further validate our thesis that EV and autonomy will take longer than most think, but eventually will be more impactful than most can imagine. Our optimism around Tesla’s ability to capitalize on the shift to EV, autonomy, and renewable energy has not changed.”

TipRanks illustrates a Wall Street full of analysts hedging their bets on this electric car giant. Based on 23 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 5 are bullish on Tesla, 9 remain sidelined, and 9 are bearish on the stock. With a loss potential of 4%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $303.28.