Tesla Inc. shares were down 2 per cent on Wednesday, as analysts remained divided on the electric-car maker’s chances of meeting delivery and production targets in the months ahead, despite chief executive officer Elon Musk’s reassurances at an annual shareholder meeting.
Mr. Musk told shareholders on Tuesday that Tesla was on track to hit its volume production goal for the year, indicating the demand for its cars remains strong.
“We made as many cars last year as we had in our entire history. And this year, it’s going to be pretty similar at least sort of 60 per cent to 80 per cent growth of the total vehicle fleet, maybe more than that, “ Mr. Musk said.
Analysts at Cowen & Co, however, questioned the 47-year old billionaire’s comment, saying “Musk claims that sales have far exceeded production, but the data doesn’t suggest.”
“Basic microeconomic theory would suggest that goods or services that don’t have a demand problem, don’t see their prices lowered by half a dozen times in 4-5 months.”
The company has lowered prices for its vehicles multiple times in the past few months to boost sales of its models.
In the first quarter ended March, Tesla reported a 31 per cent fall in deliveries, sparking concerns about the company’s ability to make profits and meet its delivery targets while it grapples with issues related to cash flow and manufacturing.
However, Baird analyst Ben Kallo, rated four out of five stars for his accuracy on estimates for Tesla, believes “bear arguments will be disproven in the coming weeks and months.”
He also expects the car maker, which witnessed steady demand over the past few weeks, to be cash-flow positive in the second quarter.
At least eight Wall Street brokerages cut their price target for Tesla in May to an average of US$280.31 a share, according to Refinitiv data. Shares of the company have fallen by around US$120 in 2019 and were trading at around US$222 before the bell on Wednesday.
Of the 31 analysts who cover the stock, only 12 now recommend buying Tesla shares, while another 12 have a “sell” rating and the rest have “hold.”
“There is clearly a somewhat healthy level of demand, but maybe not as aggressive as what Tesla management would like. Maybe galloping growth, not blistering growth,” Roth Capital analyst Craig Irwin said.
Mr. Irwin rates the stock “buy,” with a price target of US$238.
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