Tesla Motors Inc Could Delay Model X Launch: Morgan Stanley

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Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) last week unveiled the D version of its Model S sedan with all-wheel drive (AWH) and Autopilot. Few people expected Tesla to unveil a semi-autonomous car about a year in advance. That doesn’t mean the company would launch Model X earlier than expected. Tesla has already delayed Model X SUV with falcon doors by more than a year.

Model X will be well worth the wait

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a research note that the company could further delay the launch of its next vehicle. Model X prototypes have been difficult to spot. Model X is scheduled to hit the roads in the second-quarter of 2015. More than 20,000 customers have already placed pre-orders. But Jonas says the crossover could be delayed slightly to the third-quarter of 2015.

That’s not a serious concern, though. Morgan Stanley said it’s quite common for automakers to push back the release of a new car. Last week’s introduction of AWD version of Model S indicates some pacing ahead of the Model S release. Jonas said the bigger the launch, the more likely the delay. That means Model X will be well worth the wait. Morgan Stanley has a $320 price target on Tesla.

Will Tesla produce electric pickup trucks?

However, things can get more interesting with Tesla. Jonas sees the possibility of Tesla making the electric pickup trucks. If Tesla decides to do so, it will be entering a market still dominated by Ford, General Motors and Chrysler for decades. It won’t be a cakewalk for Elon Musk, but Jonas sees significant growth potential for Tesla in the electric trucks market.

This market segment has a lot to offer. It gives Tesla an opportunity for re-branding given the firmly established notion of large, gas-guzzling SUVs and pickups. If Tesla can build an electric truck that captivates the buyers, it will be one of the biggest success stories in the automobile industry.

Tesla shares surged 3.63% to $234.56 at 12:15 PM EDT on Friday.

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