Tesla remains volatile towards Q1’s end, analysts remain divided on Model 3 deliveries


Tesla stock (NASDAQ:TSLA) remains volatile as the electric car maker approaches the end of the first quarter, and as analysts continue to be divided over the company’s capability to deliver the Model 3 to buyers across North America, Europe, and China.

Ryan Brinkman at J.P. Morgan is among Tesla’s skeptics, recently reiterating his Underweight rating for TSLA stock in a note to clients. Brinkman lowered his price target from $230 to $215 per share over what he claimed were reports of delays in shipping the Model 3 to Europe and China. The J.P. Morgan analyst estimates that Model 3 deliveries for the first quarter will number 50,000 units, which are below the FactSet consensus of 54,600. 

“Any delays in delivering vehicles to Europe and China carry the potential for a disproportionate impact on 1Q deliveries (and, hence, revenue, margin, and cash flow), given the already guided back-end-loaded nature of 1Q deliveries,” Brinkman wrote.

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Baird analyst Ben Kallo, a longtime TSLA bull, is taking a more optimistic stance. In a note on Thursday, Kallo stated that any updates from Tesla about the $35,000 Model 3 will likely be positive for the stock. Kallo reiterated his Outperform rating on the electric car maker, as well as his $465 price target, which is far ahead of FactSet’s average of ~$335 per share.

“Any update on Model 3 demand/backlog, particularly after the introduction of the $35,000 variant, would be positive for the stock. We think Tesla could provide an updated demand outlook or backlog (especially following the $35,000 model unveil), which we think could exceed expectations and would be positive for the stock,” Kallo wrote.

With Model 3 deliveries starting in Europe and China, and amidst the reduced federal tax credit in the United States, Tesla is fighting an uphill battle. Musk has previously admitted that Tesla might not be profitable this quarter, though he has nonetheless urged the company’s employees to push as many vehicles as possible. In his message, Musk noted that Tesla should aim to deliver as many as 30,000 vehicles in the last two weeks of March.

Reports from the Tesla community in Europe and China depict an end-of-quarter push that is fully underway, with images and footage of full delivery centers being shared online. A Tesla owner-volunteer from China even shared in a social media post that one delivery center was able to deliver more than 200 Model 3 in one day. The next few days will determine if Tesla will be able to pull another rabbit out of the hat this quarter. If these reports of mass deliveries are any indication, there is a pretty fair chance that Tesla could defy the odds and pleasantly surprise Wall Street once more.

As of writing, Tesla stock is trading -0.07% at $278.20 per share.

Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.

Tesla remains volatile towards Q1’s end, analysts remain divided on Model 3 deliveries


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