Thursday, June 8, 2017

One final word on Tesla

       One thing I have not discussed regarding Tesla is risk.  In my view, the risk for anyone buying the stock north of $350 is extraordinary.  What will happen, for instance, if the Model 3 turns out to be a modest success with very small profit margins?  Put simply, the company's cash flow situation will become critical, particularly if the Model 3 cannabalizes the more expensive and more profitable Models S and X.  Under such circumstances, the stock price could easily drop more than 50%, supported at that level by a potential buy out.  My point is that this possibility is not a "lightning strikes" consideration.  Given the demand for electric cars and the move away from sedans, I see it as a real possibility.  So the downside risk at current stock price levels is extraordinary.  And I do not see any upside potential.  But I have been wrong about the upside before.  However, it is critical to remember that for the foreseeable future Tesla has to make money by making, selling and servicing cars.  That is not a technology business like UBER where the marginal costs are close to zero.  Building and servicing cars costs money and there is no evidence that Tesla is any better at it then established competitiors.

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