The Tesla Model 3 Means Make Or Break Time For Tesla

3 months ago by Steven Loveday 72

Tesla Model 3

Elon Musk’s Tesla Model 3 – Serial Number 0001

The first production Tesla Model 3 rolled off the assembly line on Saturday, July 8, 2017 at Tesla’s automotive factory in Fremont, California, and now it’s high time for Tesla to shine.

Tesla has been considered a “startup”, a “niche” automaker, a “lifestyle brand”, and “tech company” since it built its first electric roadster nearly ten years ago. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has spent years tailoring a master plan that essentially begins with its automaker’s first affordable, mass-market, high-volume offering; the Tesla Model 3.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

As we draft this piece, thirty more (perhaps 29) Tesla Model 3 vehicles are being built in Fremont and readied for a handover party, which will take place on July 28, 2017.

Full details on the event (and a look at the precious few invites that have been sent out) here.

Following that party, Tesla will begin a long and near-impossible production ramp up that will take place over the next year and beyond. How this all falls into place for the Silicon Valley automaker will likely pave its future, all while changing the future of the global automotive market. Gartner Inc. research director, Mike Ramsey, shared (via Automotive News):

“It is definitely a make-it-or-break-it moment for Tesla. They have to produce a car that has fewer problems than the Model X. If the car comes out with the kind of issues the Model X had, it could be very damaging to Tesla.”

However, Ramsey doesn’t think that issues with the Model 3 will put Tesla out of business, but whether or not the automaker can make hundreds of thousands of cars in a timely manner is yet to be seen. Some analysts believe that even if the ramp up isn’t timely, but remains relatively smooth, Tesla will fare well. Success will help to secure Tesla as a viable force in the automotive world, while problems may fuel skeptics and keep Tesla’s insecure image just that. Ramsey continued:

“I don’t think anybody actually anticipates that they’re going to hit 500,000 in production. There’s a huge ‘Tesla discount’ on that in reality. If they get to 250,000, I think that people would think that is a pretty huge success.”

Tesla delivered 76,000 vehicles in 2016. To hit Musk’s future estimates would amount to the most miraculous vehicle production ramp-up in history. David Whitson, an analyst from Morningstar projects 400,000 Tesla Model 3 deliveries in 2018 and over 600,000 in 2019. He said:

(It’s) important to keep the hype about Tesla in perspective relative to the firm’s very limited production capacity.”

Musk’s electric car maker has already pushed past some of its early roadblocks and proved naysayers wrong. The Model 3 passed all regulatory approval two weeks early and production started ahead of schedule. However, one vehicle ahead of schedule and some thirty more on time isn’t proof of anything yet. Jeff Osborne of Cowen & Co. told clients:

“While it is nice to see Tesla finally hit a stated target on time, we question whether 30 vehicle deliveries essentially built by hand count as ‘mass production’ and we also are surprised that this ‘mass market’ vehicle does not have official photos, options, pricing or really any details available.”

Despite the very recent successes related to the beginning of Model 3 production, Tesla has been slower with the Model S and X as of late. Some attribute it to the company’s focus on the Model 3, while others cited slowing demand. Tesla asserted that a shortage of battery packs was the real issue. Bank of America Merrill Lynch research analyst, John Murphy, countered:

“Blaming lackluster deliveries on production issues may either be disingenuous or indicative that Tesla cannot solve simple production problems that every other major automotive manufacturer deals with on a regular basis.”

Others stress that Tesla’s direct sales model may not be able to handle huge production growth. Sales are banned in some states and the company doesn’t have the support network of legacy automakers. Tesla only has 70 service centers in the U.S., and 20 of them are in California. Analysts also fear that Tesla’s Supercharger network won’t be able to handle the added strain of hundreds of thousands of Model 3s. AutoPacific analyst, Dave Sullivan explained:

“There’s a potential for something to go wrong right now that would affect Tesla more than any other vehicle manufacturer. They do not have the network of support and service that everyone else has established.”

Tesla told Automotive News that it is working to increase the number of Supercharger stations and service centers, along with expanding or converting current retail stores to include service centers.

Due to a pre-order flurry that has never been seen before in the auto industry, Tesla has an incredible amount of orders to fill. On top of this, people are still placing orders, and people are already impatient. It will be a long time before many get their vehicles, even if Tesla is able to be timely.

New orders, from those that are just joining the club may not be filled until a year from now or more. These “new” adoptees may not have the level of forgiveness that is expected of early adopters, and their impatience along with any negative press may escalate their expectations. Principal analyst of North America light-vehicle production for forecasting firm IHS Markit, Joe Langley, believes:

“The early customers are far more forgiving, but if you’re hypothetically talking about half a million vehicles a year, these are not early adopters. They are not going to be as forgiving of things.”

Source: Automotive News

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72 responses to "The Tesla Model 3 Means Make Or Break Time For Tesla"

  1. JK says:

    I am wondering just how many more Model 3 cars Tesla can sell compared to the Model S75.

    If I assume Tesla will sell about 10,000 units of basic model S75 in the USA in 2017 for a net of about $65,000 to the buyer, how many of the smaller somewhat less attractive, less range, less spacious, and less luxurious model 3 can Tesla be expected to sell?

    If price is the almost single advantage of the 3 over the base S, my impression that out selling the base S by 7 to 1 should be considered a great success.

    This my thought is USA sales of 70,000 units model 3 in 2019 should be considered a big success in light of decreasing sedan sales across the USA.

    USA sales of 200,000 model 3 units seems extra ordinarily high compared to current sales of base model S75.

    My assumption is that the base model S75 sales is about 50% of total model S sales of approximately 11,000 units first half of 2017.

    1. KumarP says:

      They’ve sold far more than 200,000 already, even assuming that a huge percentage of the people who have made a deposit back out.

      1. Vexar says:

        And despite their best efforts, they are selling more reservations every week. I think I just sold a Model III to a couple of college kid roommates at a grad party after a quick, spirited romp in my Model S.

      2. Brett says:

        Be clear, they have sold one so far. They have deposits for up to 400,000 units, but Tesla doesn’t even report on sales, they report on units delivered.

        I’m sure the majority will follow through on their expected purchase, but the longer it takes to deliver,the higher the possibility of potential adopters defecting to other automakers or products.

        1. Paul Smith says:

          It is also as possible that once the first Model 3s start hitting the streets, them may open a lot more eyes and help to increase demand.

          1. Asak says:

            It’s equally possible that when the Model 3 hits the streets it ends up bombing. People need to work on not setting expectations sky high. There’s plenty of room for disappointment when you expect the moon.

            In the end the Model 3 is still an EV and it’s not clear that the public is actually ready for mass market acceptance of EVs.

            1. Someone out there says:

              Indeed. The model 3 also isn’t a very attractive car. The exterior is decent but the interior is poor, sedans are poorly received on the market and it has relatively short range for the price. Fanboys rave about it but when it comes to normal people I think there will be a different tune.

              I expect the hype around the model 3 will die down quite fast once it’s out and then sales will be much lower than expected, maybe 200k/year at the peak (which isn’t that bad considering what Tesla is doing now but still much less than expected).

              1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                “…sedans are poorly received on the market…”

                I find it very strange that this bad meme keeps getting circulated on InsideEVs. Do people not see all the sedans on the road when they drive?

                Most or all of the best-selling cars (not light trucks) are sedans (or “saloons” as they are called across the pond).

              2. Priusmaniac says:

                “The model 3 also isn’t a very attractive car.”

                Are you out of your mind or do you really need glasses.

                The Model 3 is a gorgeous sedan while still being affordable, long range included. It is presently unique.

                Reserving one at once was an excellent decision because demand is going to climb in the millions once people really discover it.

    2. Dave K says:

      I want a M3 instead of an S75 because the S is too big, the lower price is nice but I just don’t want or need a car that big. And yes I have driven an S and it’s nice, just too big.

      1. Alonso Perez says:

        And in Europe it’s outright gigantic. The Model 3 will appeal to a whole new set of buyers.

        1. Priusmaniac says:

          Indeed in Europe even the Model 3 is still a big car. People drive with super small things here or with Kangoo vans.

          The Model 3 will be a real revelation in Europe. Both of how beautiful an everyday car can be and in making an ev a pragmatic realistic sole car in the family.

  2. JK says:

    It is pretty difficult to count sales before specs and exact pricing have been released and agreed upon.

    Not a lot is known about the deposits or the depositors.

    We are all just speculating on future sales numbers. The number of deposits is truly astounding and it is hard to weigh how many of those deposits will turn into sales.

    1. scott franco says:

      Yes, it is impossible to really calculate future sales. The only way to produce anything close to a guarantee is if people are willing to commit to buying the car by putting money down in advance.

      Hey……

      1. Asak says:

        A thousand dollars down really isn’t a whole lot compared to the cost of a car. I put $1000 down and I’d say there’s no better than a 50% chance that my deposit turns into a sale, and I’m in the prime target audience. I’ve wanted to own an EV since the early 00s.

        I really doubt more than half the deposits end up converting to sales. People are really overestimating the (limited) amount of conviction required to put down $1000. Almost all of those deposits are probably from people who can easily spare the money.

        1. Steve says:

          I agree with Asak. I too put down a deposit, on the day of announcement. My family already has two EVs, so the fact that it is an EV is hardly the negative issue here. I will be looking at early reviews, driving comfort and experience, carrying capacity, and quality control. It has to beat the e-Golf on at least three of marks, by a good margin, for me to follow through. I also put down $5000 on a model S, very early on, at a time when there was a significant chance that I’d not get my deposit back. I ultimately decided to pass, based on cost and that the car is just a bit too large, on the outside. I do hope the III works out, as my daughter is very excited. I am hoping this is far better than the Apple /// computer, which most people here have probably never heard of :-).

          1. “Apple /// computer, which most people here have probably never heard of :-).”

            How about Apple //?

            Or, the first one I had:
            TRS-80 Model 3!

            (Tesla Model 3 Reservation Holder! Coincidence? I Think Not!)

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            “I am hoping this is far better than the Apple /// computer, which most people here have probably never heard of :-).”

            Well, -I- know how slanderous a taunt that comparison is. 😉

            No reason most people should have heard of the Apple ///. Apple’s early attempt at a business-oriented desktop computer, to challenge the original IBM PC, was a flop of epic proportions. The shape was quite awkward and inconvenient, and Apple never developed much software to support it. Our college had one, but the only time it was ever used was when all the Apple ][‘s were busy, and then the /// was run with an Apple ][ emulator so it could run ][ programs.

            BTW: It’s the “Apple ][“, not the “Apple //”.

          3. Nix says:

            KAYPRO II FTW!!!!

        2. Priusmaniac says:

          I put down a deposit as well and it would have to come without steering wheel or exaggerate imposition of the self driving stuff, which I don’t want, for me not to precede with a purchase. I just hope there is a HUD and a solar roof as an option with PV in glass, otherwise I can live without a hatch and would even stand imposed leather seats but would prefer tissue.

          1. Roy_H says:

            You are not going to get your PV solar roof, but I agree that an optional HUD is something Tesla should have as a high priority.

    2. Nix says:

      JK — Just 10 more days. No use fretting over it at this point.

      1. Null says:

        If S is any guide, there will be lots of options available once latent demand is satisfied.

  3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “…a long and near-impossible production ramp…”

    Sigh. I had hoped that writer Steven Loveday had abandoned his apparent anti-Tesla position — witness his current article here on InsideEVs heading off yet another fake-news Tesla bashing campaign — but it looks like I was premature.

    Hey Steven! You need to drink the Kool-Aid! Tesla rulz! 😀

    I don’t think Tesla’s current challenge is any more “near-impossible” than the amazing and unexpected success Tesla had with the Model S. Do you?

    “They have to produce a car that has fewer problems than the Model X.”

    At the risk of being snarky: That shouldn’t be difficult. But more seriously, it’s clear that Tesla didn’t take the development or initial production of the Model X seriously. InsideEVs editor Jay Cole reported that Tesla didn’t even get around to soliciting designs for the Model S’s falcon wing door actuators until just a few months before start of production, which was far too late to properly test the designs and work out any problems before production started.

    Seems to me pretty clear that Tesla wasn’t all that interested in putting the MX into production, probably because they weren’t getting enough — or at times just barely getting enough — battery packs for Model S production. Why put a new model into production when you’re already production limited, and when you’ve spent years amortizing away the costs of the existing model, so can now make it at a higher profit margin than a new model? What’s the rush?

    “However, one vehicle ahead of schedule and some thirty more on time isn’t proof of anything yet.”

    It most certainly is proof that:

    1. Tesla is far more “on the ball” in making sure there are no production delays in getting the M3 into production than they ever have in the past. This has included having Tesla reps work right on the factory floor at some of its suppliers for M3 parts, to head off any problems before they arise. You might even say Tesla has been proactive! This is obviously a vast improvement over the lackadaisical approach to getting the Model X into production, and is also a very noticeable improvement over the multiple delays in getting both the Roadster and the Model S into production.

    2. It certainly is proof that Tesla has succeeded at what almost nobody thought they would: Actually starting Model 3 production on the target date!

    “Others stress that Tesla’s direct sales model may not be able to handle huge production growth.”

    No doubt those were the same people who said there was no way Amazon.com could ever outsell Borders Books (RIP) or Barnes & Noble.

    “…we also are surprised that this ‘mass market’ vehicle does not have official photos, options, pricing or really any details available.”

    Obviously the self-described “analyst” who gave that quote, one who doesn’t deserve the title, is not aware that Tesla has been actively anti-selling the Model 3 in order to support MS and MX sales, and avoid the “Osborne effect” as much as possible.

    “There’s a potential for something to go wrong right now that would affect Tesla more than any other vehicle manufacturer.”

    Unlike the other assertions I’ve quoted above, this is actually true. This is the third, and hopefully last, time Tesla has “bet the farm” on the success or failure of one single car model. This is every bit as much a do-or-die period for Tesla as the rollout of the Roadster and the Model S. If the Model 3 is a hit, then Tesla should be able to survive a future model being a failure. As Tesla expands its line, it should no longer be dependent on any one model for success of the entire company.

    It is probably too much to hope that Tesla will succeed as wildly with the Model 3 as it did with the Model S. Did even Tesla think the MS would become the best-reviewed car of all time, earning more “Car of the Year” awards than any other ever has, as well as a number of reviewers saying “Best car ever made”? Probably not!

    I think it would be too much to hope lightning will strike twice. But then, the Model 3 doesn’t need to be “the best car ever made” for Tesla to be able to sell 400,000 a year. Heck, some pickups sell more than that!

    “They do not have the network of support and service that everyone else has established.”

    This is true, and unlike the other caveats in the article above, this is a serious problem area which Tesla is tardy at addressing. They really, really need to work on this problem, and do it very quickly, or there is going to be a very serious public relations disaster when Tesla car owners find they have to wait weeks or months to get routine servicing for their cars.

    “Tesla told Automotive News that it is working to increase the number of Supercharger stations and service centers, along with expanding or converting current retail stores to include service centers.”

    I hope Tesla isn’t merely “working to increase the number”, but that Tesla actually is increasing the number, and increasing it both substantially and quickly.

  4. DJ says:

    I wish them the best of luck.

    I sincerely mean that.

    Like, I really genuinely mean that. The more miles done on electricity regardless of if it’s a PHEV, BEV, or even just a hybrid and regardless of manufacturer is a good thing.

    I’m sure some of you will still find something to complain about in that…

    1. Well, my coworker that bought my used 2004 Prius from me, after I added 30,000 Kms or 20,000 Miles, putting the clock at a moderate 215,000 Kms when I delivered it to him, is still loving it, even though he found it a bit strange, at first!

  5. James P Heartney says:

    Like it or not, Tesla is carrying a lot of the hope for EV growth on its shoulders. They are the one company that’s totally committed to electric drivetrains; if they fail, it’ll set back EVs for years.

    The good news is the Model 3 doesn’t have to sell at mass market numbers for a while yet. Tesla has enough orders that it’ll be at least a year before they work through the backlog. But it’s also true they need to grow the backend a lot if this launch isn’t to become a cautionary tale.

    1. With the seemingly slower ramp up than was mentioned or planned, at least as I and a few others anticipated, they have some time yet to get more Supercharging Sites in California, and more service centers there too, as with just 30 Model 3’s delivered, on July 28th, and 150 in August, plus the suggested 1,500 in September, it won’t be much immediate pressure, but it will be coming, like a flash flood after that!

      1. Priusmaniac says:

        By the time big numbers come out it will be winter, so the driving season will be over. That will give them a relive until next spring to add additional superchargers.

  6. WadeTyhon says:

    I have been waiting for years for the Model 3. Finally a Tesla for housholds that don’t make 150k a year or more!

    I don’t know if it will be as big of a hit as I am hoping. But I intend to buy one next year even if it is an underperformer. And together with my Bolt, my wife and I will continue advocating for all EVs regardless of make or model.

    Bigger things are at stake than what brand or model ‘wins.’ The more EVs and plug-ins, the more we all win. Now get out there, Model 3! You’re up to bat!

  7. scott franco says:

    Things are different this time and Telsa has learned from their mistakes. I would bet money on it.

    I have bet money on it.

  8. Benz says:

    Tesla is really going to have to produce and deliver at least 200,000 Tesla Model 3 EV’s in 2018. That is an average of 50,000 Tesla Model 3 EV’s per quarter.

    The Tesla factory in Fremont has been prepared for the production of the Tesla Model 3. Let’s hope that all will go according to what they have been planning to do.

  9. Nix says:

    Yes, the Model 3 is important to Tesla, but it really isn’t “make or break”. Tesla has another potentially even more popular, potentially even bigger seller than the Model 3 that will follow up next.

    Any issues that may bear out for the Model 3, will just be opportunities for the upcoming Model Y.

    I realize we live in an age of immediacy where everybody wants everything now! now! now! But Tesla will just keep on going building new vehicles. Each one will feel at the time to be the most important, biggest new thing that means everything. But in reality they will each be another building block in putting together a successful company. The measure of that success will come over years and decades, not months.

    1. Null says:

      The semi will be low(relative to small sedan and cuv)volume, very high margin fleet sales. Production shouldn’t take that much space. Margins will be much better than the Model S!

  10. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Tesla will be fine long term. Maybe its stock price will take some hits from not meeting target but overall it will be fine.

    The biggest impact is that Model 3 is the ONLY EV so far that has a chance to take us to the mainstream. If it fails, we will have to wait for the Model Y. But until then, this is the ONLY car that is capable of bridging the “niche” market to the general market.

    It has to succeed because it needs to show the rest of the automakers that there is a lucrative market for them to compete in.

    We need more players, more choices. Model 3 will be the first one that defines the market.

    1. Doggydogworld says:

      If Tesla’s stock price “takes a hit” of 25-50% due to a flubbed Model 3 launch then you are correct, they will be fine.

      If their stock falls too far below $100 they could easily enter a death spiral in which they can’t raise enough capital to develop and produce future models.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        I don’t see any chance of it falling below $100 unless something catastrophic happening like massive recall that somehow all 400K Model 3 have to be serious recalled for safety reason.

        Otherwise, missing ramp up targets slightly or late will only cause 10-25% correction at most in my opinion. At $170 is about 50% correction. Even that is a very remote chance.

        Then again, I am not a stock price forecaster. Elon still have enough “ammunition” to draw more supports with upcoming Semi/Model Y/Bus concept release that it will generate enough support to overcome the negative news of Model 3 if any.

        1. Asak says:

          The stock could easily drop to $100. It wouldn’t necessarily even been cheap at that point. This is a company that has made no money, and isn’t set to make money any time soon.

          This has nothing to do with Tesla’s cars or its ultimate potential, it’s simply a statement that the share price is basically divorced from any sort of logical metric. There’s no good reason why Tesla is currently one of the most valuable automakers in the world.

          1. EV-A says:

            Define “soon”.

            Tesla predicted a 25% profit margin on the Model 3. With 200,000 cars per year at an average of $ 42,000 I would expect them to make 25% profit over the 8.4bn.

            The Model 3 sales should translate to 2.1bn profit per year. Excluding Model S, X etc.

            Please correct if I’m making an error or inaccurate assumption.

            1. Roy_H says:

              $42,000? Tesla is not going to meet its high volume optimistic targets at that price. If they truly want to make a mass market car, they will have to have a base price below $30k and decently optioned below $35k.

              1. Nix says:

                $42K is before State and Federal incentives.

                You will find that depending on the state, the price is right exactly in your target zone.

          2. GSP says:

            “No good reason?”

            How about more growth potential than any other automaker? It definitely is a reason. Whether it is a good one depends on who is doing the judging.

            GSP

          3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Asak said:

            “This is a company that has made no money, and isn’t set to make money any time soon.”

            Reality check: Tesla’s revenue for 2016 was about $7 billion.

            Reinvesting all profits into company growth ≠ “made no money”.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “…unless something catastrophic happening like massive recall that somehow all 400K Model 3 have to be serious recalled for safety reason.”

          Yes, this is the danger that I see: That the car could get a bad image due to safety issues, such as the Ford Pinto or the Chevy Corvair. I don’t think there is any danger of an Edsel-type flop; that was a case of an auto maker ignoring the reality of an economic downturn and promoting a new luxury car when everyone wanted an economy car. Given the number of reservations for the M3, it seems pretty clear there is a lot of demand for the car, unlike the Edsel.

          Aside from that catastrophic scenario, I suppose Nix is right; even if the car is only a moderate success, Tesla can just proceed on to the Model Y. What Tesla must avoid is, as has been said, a “death spiral” where all the money they have invested in expanding the production lines at Fremont and building Gigafactory 1 fails to earn much income, leading to a cash crunch and a drastic drop in Tesla’s credit rating, making it impossible for Tesla to borrow the funds it would need for continued operations and for development and tooling up for the Model Y.

          Anyway, Nix’s assertion that Tesla is not “betting the farm” on the M3 has caused me to rethink the issue. Perhaps the Model 3 debut isn’t as risky for Tesla as the Model S debut was. At any rate, I’ve learned to be very, very cautious about disagreeing with Nix; he is very nearly always right!

          1. Nix says:

            You are correct, the Model S was by far the much bigger risk for Tesla. With no Roadster sales to fall back on, and only one product to sell, it was make or break time for Tesla. They made it.

          2. Nix says:

            Also, I would be remiss if I did not point out that even the makers of the Ford Pinto and the Chevy Corvair are still in business….

        3. Doggydogworld says:

          MMF – I think a fall below $100 this year is very unlikely, but it’s delusional to say “almost no chance”. TSLA trades at $300++ because:

          1. It’s gone up a lot, and the masses love to associate with a winner
          2. Belief in a glorious EV/Roof/Semi future
          3. Belief in Musk

          If it starts falling hard #1 goes away. In a falling-price environment it only takes minor bad news to kill #2 and #3. Look back to the dotcom mania. It’s fashionable to blame the crash on Pets.Com and similar non-viable businesses, but there were hundreds of viable companies, many profitable, that fell 90% or more. Some survive to this day (including one I worked for), because they had no debt and could self-fund from operations. But in most cases the stock prices never recovered.

          Tesla has a ton of debt and cannot self-fund from operations. They are very susceptible to a death spiral. What could trigger it? Just guessing, but re-guiding December Model 3 down 2000/week or less combined with:

          1. Q3 S&X deliveries below 20,000 or a lowering of 2nd half guidance below 44,000, or

          2. General tech market slump, or

          3. A really bad Autopilot incident, or

          4. Legal conflict with Panasonic, or

          5. Serious Musk health scare, or

          6. Conflict with Chinese government, or

          7. ???

          A death spiral within a year is a sub-10% possibility, not sub=1%.

          1. Nix says:

            doggy — “Tesla has a ton of debt and cannot self-fund from operations.”

            That is false. Tesla is certainly capable of self-funding operations from operations. If they were to stop introducing new models, they would have plenty of money to self-fund.

            What they cannot fund is their massive growth rate unheard of in the automotive industry. They dwarf industry growth rates (actually growth rates are negative in the automotive sector overall….)

            If Tesla were to simply follow the industry model of spending relatively small amounts of money to update existing model lines for decades, and stop the massive growth they are going through every year, they would indeed be profitable.

      2. Nix says:

        Doggy — TSLA share prices in the $100 dollar range would actually make it super easy for Tesla to raise cash. Investors would be lining up for Tesla to take their money at that price.

        It would be like getting a second chance to buy into Amazon at $300 in 2014 after it dropped from $400 dollar highs in 2013. Before it went like a rocket to 1,000+ in just 3 more years.

        1. Asak says:

          That’s not how it works. People never are interested in buying something when it’s cheap. It doesn’t matter that it’s a better investment than something that’s expensive, all they see is the price has come down. That’s why the majority of the public buys at market tops and sells at market bottoms.

          If Tesla drops to $100 don’t expect anyone to step up to buy shares. They’ll all be too scared.

          1. Nix says:

            Asak — That logic reminds me of the people who sold at the bottom of the Bush crash, while I was moving out of my 2007 cash-heavy position and buying deals like crazy starting Nov ’08.

            Yes, dumb money will follow the crowd. Which is when contra-thinking investors take their money. For every single person selling, there is always somebody on the other side of the transaction that is buying. That’s the definition of selling a stock. One person selling, one person buying. There are ALWAYS investors ready and waiting to buy a good deal if there is a good deal to be had. Especially when the dumb money is following the crowd and selling a massive growth company with growth unheard of in the automotive industry.

        2. Someone out there says:

          A stock that has fallen from almost $400 to $100 is not a stock people are interested in investing in. In fact that would be the reason why it fell to begin with. Such a fall is a clear indication that the company has failed to deliver and that is a huge problem.

          1. Nix says:

            That is correct, it is a sign of previous weakness or failure. However, what it is not is a predictor of the future.

            If you are trading stocks by only looking out your back window (prior results) like much of dumb money, then the folks looking out their front windows as well as their back window will beat you in every race, every time.

            Like I said, if something goes wrong with the Model 3 launch that causes the price of the stock to drop, as long as there is a viable path for a fix or for the Model Y to succeed, there will be a line of investors looking out their front windows ready and willing to invest.

        3. Doggydogworld says:

          Nix – as Asak and Someone Out There note, that’s not how market psychology works. It’s almost impossible for a company to sell new shares after their stock falls 75%. The mere rumor that they might sell shares after such a fall is enough to trigger another move down. That’s the “death spiral”.

          You might indeed be eager to buy below $100. I personally (and in the past, professionally), often buy such “fallen angels”. But we are in the EXTREME minority. People like us have to fight through the panicked crowds jamming the exits.

          Most of my fellow contrarians are “deep value” investors. One trick is to buy when the market cap is less than net current asset value (NCAV). I almost bought Apple on that basis in 2001, but I didn’t (to my eternal regret, lol) because a strong rumor had Steve Jobs wasting the company’s billions buying a major music studio. Instead, his meetings with the studios were to sign landmark 99 cent/song deals for the iPod/iTunes launch. Oops!

          Anyway, TSLA’s NCAV is way below zero, so forget about that pool of potential buyers.

          1. Nix says:

            doggy, What 99.9999% of people who invest in stocks think about any specific stock is completely meaningless when it comes to raising money by issuing new shares.

            All that matters is what that .0001 percent who are actually willing to risk their money think.

            You are crazy if you think Tesla can’t find people willing to throw their money into their company.

            Think I’m crazy? Go look at Tesla bonds. Tesla doesn’t even bother to get their bonds rated. Still they sell everything they offer instantly.

            TSLA is on it’s 15th major market swing. And while dumb money would look at a drop in price as something to fear and run from, mature investors would describe as TSLA’s 16th major market swing, and correctly identify the upside potential.

            Why is everybody here so stuck with following the herd, and chasing behind dumb money?

        4. HVACman says:

          Hmmm… the only time TSLA generates cash from stock sales at any price is when they issue new stock. If the share price dropped to $100/share, that would NOT be the time to make a new stock offering. Diluting current stockholders stock equity with another stock offering at a much lower price would both PO existing stock holders and not raise as much capital per new share sold as an offering at a much higher price. Probably would be a shareholders revolt if that happened.

          I suspect TSLA is done for now with new stock offerings and will attempt to cover any operating cash issues by tapping their credit lines and taking on debt. Ideally, they will be able to “boot-strap” their growth going forward and generate positive cash-flow that can be re-invested rather than taking on more debt.

          1. Nix says:

            HVAC

            “that would NOT be the time to make a new stock offering. Diluting current stockholders stock equity with another stock offering at a much lower price would both PO existing stock holders…”

            All of that is true, but if they needed cash, they don’t have the luxury to time the market. And yes, it would drive down TSLA share prices even further before the offering.

            “…and not raise as much capital per new share sold as an offering at a much higher price.”

            Or in other words, investors would get more shares for their money than if the stock offering was at a higher price. They would get a larger share in the company at a lower price than if the offering was at a higher price.

            You have correctly identified EXACTLY what the incentive a long-term TSLA bear would have to invest in such a stock offering.

            If an investor believes in the long-term success of a company that has seen a substantial dip in their stock price, do they want more shares for their dollar, or less shares?

            You want more shares. Obviously. Which is why whatever small percent of TSLA Bull investors that are needed to fund the IPO would line up at Tesla’s doors to tell Tesla to take their damn money already!!

            Institutional investors and professionally invested funds who choose a long term hold strategy would ALSO be quick to buy into new stock offerings EXACTLY so that they mitigate their other shares being diluted. In fact, buying more shares is pretty much the only way to hedge against new shares diluting your existing holdings. (79.78% of TSLA Float is currently held by Institutional Investors & professionally managed Mutual Funds).

            So again, what the masses would do, and what dumb money would do, has very little relevance on whether Tesla could successfully get enough long-term TSLA bears to raise money if they really had to — even if share prices dropped significantly.

            If you don’t believe me, go read up on the professional investors who were buying up Fannie and Freddie non-senior, non-dividend yielding shares even as they were being taken over by the gov’t and facing liquidation if the $187 Billion dollar federal bailout wasn’t successful.

            Hint: the definition of a stock sale is 1 seller, 1 buyer. Every single highly unpopular Freddie n Fannie share that was sold was bought by some contrarian FnF Bear investor.

      3. Asak says:

        Right now expectations for Tesla are sky high. They could easily take a 50% hit for a “successful”, but simply not amazing launch of the Model 3.

        1. Nix says:

          TSLA is definitely a volatile stock. It certainly could take a 50% hit off of 2017 highs. Then it could turn around and double. TSLA shares have been up and down like crazy ever since it became clear that they would actually get the Model S into production.

          But keep in mind that a 50% drop off of 2017 highs still leaves investors up $15 per share on where the stock was in Dec 2016:

          52 Week Range 178.19 – 386.99

        2. ffbj says:

          Your prognostications on Tesla’s stock clearly have no basis in any sort of reality.
          Your other statements also indicate that you have no idea what you are talking about.

          But don’t let that stop you, as it is my prediction that it won’t.

    2. Jason says:

      Sorry, have to disagree. Nissan Leaf is doing very well, and if their 200mi model is realistically priced, it will do very well also. Tesla alone will not be the answer as they only have the one form factor, just like all the other EV’s. Collectively they cover the medium size car range, which means you can buy the Bolt,Leaf or Model 3 that suits your needs.

  11. Michael Will says:

    Funny, in my book they already made it by starting production of an affordable version of their insanely awesome cars.

    1. Asak says:

      Yeah, well your book is pretty lenient. “Selling” a single car to its owner isn’t much of an achievement. “Selling” 30 cars to a pool of employees isn’t either. It’s ramping up to actually sell a tangible amount to the general public. They basically haven’t done anything noteworthy with the Model 3 yet. That isn’t to say they will, but the hard part is still ahead, and it’s certainly way to early to even be thinking about celebrating.

      1. Nix says:

        I think you are missing the point. The pundits were saying that not a single car would be built in July 2017. Some were saying no cars in 2017 at all. Some even said not even in 2018. One pundit was even saying it would be 2020 before volume production.

        So yes, it is a big deal that they’ve even started production even in limited numbers, with ramp-up starting seriously only 6 weeks from now.

        6 weeks until Sept. ramp-up begins!

        To quote the former Vice-President of the United States, “This is a Big Fcking deal”

      2. Priusmaniac says:

        Let’s remember the factory has produced more than 500000 cars per year when it was owned by Toyota and GM so the factory is certainly able to make 400000 today with more modern equipment and scores of robots.

  12. Ct200h says:

    It is interesting that Tesla is bringing a sedan to market and there is huge buzz and reservations of ? 500k
    A marketing coup in a world of declining sedan sales!
    Imagine how many reservations if instead of the 3 it was the Y cuv.
    750k to 1m is a good guess.
    Either way Tesla will build and sell a huge number of sedans , and other car makers will struggle with sedan acceptance and sales. It’s time for a new paradigm for legacy manufacturers , it’s not just electrification, product development cycles are to long and the cars get stale 2 quick. Shorten the lead time and have ota updates to GUI and entertainment systems or watch your inventory get stale and your incentive req to sell go up.$$$$$

    1. Asak says:

      I doubt the numbers would be appreciably different. The reservations are for an “affordable electric car”. The form factor makes little to no difference. I don’t even like sedans, I prefer hatchbacks and yet I have a reservation for a Model 3 just as an option.

      1. alex a says:

        Why not you buy a bolt then?

  13. BillT says:

    I think as long as Tesla errs on the side of maintaining quality and reliability Vs schedule they will be fine and I am optimistic they know that. It would be one thing if a competitor was breathing down their neck in the premium car space but clear none is or will be till 2020 or so. As long as their reliability is in the BMW 3 series range they will be fine in my opinion. Unlike in the mainstream space, reliability isn’t the top concern otherwise Lexus sedans would rule. So, as long as they don’t stray into Alfa territory and strand people during test drives they should be fine.
    They certainly have customers lined up.

  14. JIMJFOX says:

    “Blaming lackluster deliveries on production issues may either be disingenuous or indicative that Tesla cannot solve simple production problems that every other major automotive manufacturer deals with on a regular basis.”

    Like ‘dieselgate’, you mean??

    1. ffbj says:

      Right, or the recent Mercedes huge recall.
      So they just pump the crap out, and then wait to see if and when regulators force them to fix the illegal polluting,junk they are foisting on an unsuspecting public.

      So solving those sort of problems.

      1. Nix says:

        GM ignition key dealths.
        Ford Exploder blowing tires and rolling over.
        Saddle tanks on pickup trucks bursting into flames.

        etc. etc. etc.

        Even massive safety recalls are not enough to kill car company after car company.

        Now excuse me while I go buy a Chipotle burrito (despite their health scare years ago….)

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