It’s become a task just to keep up with Tesla Inc. (TSLA) over the last few weeks.
Ranging from the easing regulations in China and its potential impact on Tesla to production halts and bold claims of its Model 3 potential, it’s been a busy stretch for Tesla.
But not everyone is loving the news. UBS analyst Colin Langan didn’t downgrade the stock or cut his price target, but he did reiterate his sell rating and $195 price target after digesting the latest slew of Tesla headlines.
While his target implies about 33% downside, investors are shrugging off the note as Tesla stock rallied 2.29% to $300.08 in Thursday’s session.
In his note, “Tesla was going to reinvent car manufacturing, what happened?” Langan expresses caution over the automaker’s production potential of the Model 3.
The company’s latest update (via a leaked email from CEO Elon Musk) is aiming for production of 6,000 Model 3 sedans per week by the end of the second quarter. The automaker plans to consistently hit that mark a few months after that.
Langan has below-consensus earnings estimates for the quarter, predicting a loss of $4.56 per share. He also expects auto margins to slip 260 basis points sequentially from the fourth quarter to 11.2% in the automaker’s fiscal first quarter.
While the analyst says the production issues are fixable, there are still concerns. “We think the changes to the automated line at this late stage are concerning and raise questions about the viability of the 10k/week target and TSLA’s long-term goal of ‘reinventing the machine that makes the machine.'”
Further, Langan says a capital raise is a question of when, not if, for Tesla.
We’ve also highlighted the number of expenses Tesla faces in the future. For one, if it’s to stay on schedule with its Model Y, it will need to commit CapEx resources to the vehicle later this year.
Musk has said he expects Tesla to be profitable and cash flow positive in the third and fourth quarter of this year. However, that would be dependent on the company successfully ramping up its Model 3 production. It also raises the question of cost.
Tesla’s upping the amount of human-based production involved in the Model 3. It’s going to a 24/7 production schedule and while that will help it reach its output goals, it will weigh on margins and contribute to higher input costs. Ultimately, this could impact Musk’s profit and cash flow projections for the third and fourth quarter.
Only time will tell. The company will report earnings on May 2 after the close.