When it comes to Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), analysts tend to be firmly in the bear or bull camp, and now one of the automaker’s biggest bulls has significantly raised her already-high price target following the Model 3 unveiling. Meanwhile another firm suggests that the Model 3 is actually much better than the more expensive Model S.
Tesla Motors shares are still riding high on the Model 3 news as after the unveiling and initial reports about preorders. Then over the weekend, CEO Elon Musk tweeted additional details, including that they had taken 276,000 preorders for the car by the end of Saturday. Today Tesla stock climbed by as much as 5.08% to $249.67 per share.
Tesla’s “secret master plan”
In a report dated Apr. 1, Dougherty & Company analyst Andrea James said she raised her price target for Tesla from an already-bullish $355 to $500 per share. That probably puts her target higher than that of all other analysts on Wall Street—if she wasn’t already the Street-high analyst before this increase.
She noted that in a single day of preorders, the automaker took at least 150,000 preorders for the model 3, which represents $6 billion in revenue and generates $150 million in capital without cost just from the $1,000 deposits paid by each of the customers who ordered one. She also noted that in 2010, Tesla added $190 million to its balance sheet just from its initial public offering.
“Our research supports this conclusion: Tesla is solving a different set of equations than the rest of the auto industry,” she summed up. “The disruption story builds.”
Where the Tesla Model 3 may win
James believes the Tesla Model 3 will beat competitors in several areas: innovation, design, brand, safety, price, and performance and quality. She notes that it’s unclear whether the company will be able to scale up its manufacturing capacity and “preserve a baseline level of service options that customers require.” Unsurprisingly, she assumes that the automaker is able to adequately solve the problems, and she accounts for the execution risk in her 8% discount to her 2025 earnings estimate, discounted back nine years.
She also looks at what the shorts might say. Those she describes as “sensible shorts” or “those who aren’t simply making stuff up” note that Tesla does face a number of execution risks but adds that all stocks carry execution risks and that she sees a “brand cache like Tesla’s” as being “rare.” She disagrees with the view that the Tesla Model 3 will cannibalize the Model S, calling it “short-sighted,” and she doesn’t believe the automaker will need to raise any more capital based on how much money it raked in from preorders on a car that no one had seen before they ordered it and that had not been advertised.