Yesterday’s investors day could have been a huge positive that sent Tesla (TSLA) shares soaring today.
Instead, because the company and its CEO Elon Musk once again over-promised and underdelivered, investors went away disappointed and today, March 2, the stock was down 5.85% at the close.
Let’s start with those expectations.
Tesla investors and Wall Street analysts went into the day expecting something that Tesla and Musk had touted as “Master Plan Part 3.” The key part of that plan was supposed to be, investors thought, details for the company’s third-generation models and especially on new low-priced models focused on the more price-sensitive part of the electric vehicle market where Tesla is facing increased competition. Seven models from other electric car makers are already priced lower than Tesla’s Model 3 sedan, the company’s least expensive model.
Instead, investors got more promises–two new models will be coming soon–and word that the company continues to plan to launch a $25,000 electric vehicle.
So disappointment and the drop in the stock.
But if the company had focused expectations on the news that it did deliver, I think the reaction would have been much different today. Tesla has built up technology, logistics, and manufacturing systems that allow it to make electric cars more profitably than any of its competitors. And yesterday, the company announced major steps that have the potential to widen that profit gap–even for the lower-priced end of the market.
Sure, competitors can announce and produce low-priced electric vehicles but there are no signs that they can make anything like Tesla’s likely profit margins on those cars.
So, for example, Tesla announced that it will open a fifth Gigi-factory in Mexico that will focus on making the platform for the company’s third-generation car. That third-generation platform will cost half as much to produce as the company’s current platforms thanks to a 40% reduction in the factory space required to produce a car and the use of electric motor technology that won’t require expensive rare-earth metals. (And, of course, lower wages in Mexico.)
If Tesla can deliver anything like those manufacturing efficiencies–and whatever else you can say about Tesla it is very good at technology, logistics, and manufacturing–that news is amazingly positive and should have driven the stock price higher today.
Despite a 65% gain in 2023 to date (as of March 2), Tesla shares are off about 50% from the $381 high on April 4, 2022.
If I liked the market as a whole better here, I would be buying Tesla shares today on the post-investor day drop and on the positive investor day news. (I recently ranked Tesla as one of the 12 stocks that I’d sell to take profits from the 2023 rally that began the year–that 65% gain in Tesla was a very attractive target for profit taking.)
As it is, since I expect stocks to wind lower to hit a bottom in June or July, I’ll put off buying. If you think that my call for a summer bottom is wrong or that the bottom won’t represent a significant drop from today’s levels for stocks as a whole, then you should start dollar cost averaging into Tesla now.