Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has requested an investigation into the recent fires in its Model S electric car. Tesla stock collapsed in recent days after it was revealed that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was going to investigate the company's Model S for safety issues. Today saw some of the company's value return as it became clear that Tesla itself requested the investigation.
Tesla is trying to find a way to restore its spotless brand. The fires in the Model S electric cars were unfortunate, and they have done damage to the company's reputation. The outcome of the NHTSA investigation into the car's little problem with fire is not likely to affect the pricing of the company's stock, however.
Tesla not responsible for fires
None of the Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S fires took place in California. That is the lynch pin of the argument made by Deutsche Bank analyst Dan Galves in a new report on Tesla. The vast majority of Tesla miles have been clocked in that state. If the fires were a systemic problem with the car, incidents could be expected in that state.
It's not proof that there is no problem in the Tesla Model S, but it is an indication in that direction. The NHTSA decision is expected to be made public in the next 60 days. Stifel analysts James J. Albertine and Lucy Webster have a similar, though more pessimistic, view.
The Stifel analysts say that the jumps in Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) valuation on the fires and investigation are simply "noise." The company's medium term value has little to do with those problems.
Tesla fire investigation will have little impact
Each of the three Model S fires was caused by a collision. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has already proposed a solution to this issue. The company wants the car's undercarriage to remain higher at high speeds. This could be accomplished through a software update.
Nobody was injured in a Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S fire. Each of the three drivers said that the car was instrumental in helping to save their lives. The NHTSA will not be able to avoid these facts and the likely outcome of the investigation will be benign. Since the investigation was announced there has been pressure on Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock. That pressure will be relieved by a positive decision from the NHTSA, but it will not return the company's stock to $190.
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock has not dumped a third of its value in the last month because of a fire. It has dumped the value because pricing was out of hand. A positive decision from the NHTSA in the Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) case will not necessarily be a positive catalyst for the stock.
A benign report will remove the pressure brought on by the investigation, but it is unlikely to send the stock flying upward. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) needs to deliver results for that to happen, and the company is going to need time to meet expectations.