Tesla Motors Concerns About Deliveries Overblown: Baird

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Tesla Motors has hosted teams of analysts from multiple investment firms at its manufacturing facility recently, and most of them have come away from those meetings optimistic. Baird analyst Ben Kallo and his team are the latest to report back from a meeting with Tesla, and they are now less worried that the automaker will be able to meet its delivery targets for this year.

Concerns about Tesla’s deliveries

The general consensus among analysts lately is that Tesla’s ability to reach its delivery target this year is in jeopardy. The Baird team is one of the first to say they’re not as worried about it now after meeting with Tesla management. The firm has kept Tesla as its top pick for this year and reiterated its $275 per share price target and Outperform rating on the EV manufacturer.

The Baird team thinks Tesla will be able to ramp up production throughout the year and that demand in North America is still strong, as is demand in other developed markets. This marks a diversion from the views of several analysts at other firms, who have suggested that Tesla is beginning to struggle in sales.

Tesla invests in capital improvements

On their recent earnings call, Tesla management warned that they will be spending heavily on capital improvements this year. The company has earmarked $1.5 billion for this year’s projects while it ramps up product at its manufacturing facility in Fremont, Calif.

The automaker intends to be producing 2,000 vehicles per week on its production line by the end of this year. To reach that goal, Tesla aims to improve production by 15% per quarter.

Upcoming catalysts for Tesla

Kallo sees two main catalysts for Tesla shares this year. The first is the launch of the Model X crossover vehicle. The EV manufacturer said it has already received orders for 20,000, which is more than they can make this year.

The other major catalyst is the gigafactory, as it would support Tesla’s production ramp and enable it to grow toward its goal of selling 500,000 cars per year. The EV manufacturer originally said the gigafactory would be finished in 2017, but a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission suggested that the facility could be up and running by sometime next year.

Shares of Tesla Motors fell as much as 1.85% to $197 per share. The stock initially edged upward after Baird’s comments but then pulled back after the automaker disappointed investors with its software update announcement.


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