For the past two months, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s stock has risen more than 100% amid positive investor sentiment. At the outset of July, the stock received an upgrade from research firm Jefferies. The research firm ventured that there was still significant upside in Tesla, increasing its price target from $70 to $130. Much of this positivity is based on the belief that Tesla will be able to meet the 21,000-vehicle shipment guidance it placed for the year, signaling evident demand.
While speculation on Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s rally is not new, it has now gained significant momentum in light of Tesla’s astronomical rise. Analysts arguing for and against the rally have presented equally compelling cases with the latter arguing that Tesla will correct itself and take a nose-dive for the records.
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s bear case has largely revolved around the phrase “exciting narrative and poor fundamentals.” In the past quarter, the company poked its head above the much-coveted break-even point. Critics however, argue that this newly found profitability rode on selling carbon credits to other automakers rather than actual car sales. Because Tesla sells only electric cars, there is a California law that compels conventional automakers to essentially subsidize Tesla’s operations through the buying of carbon credits. In the past profitable quarter, it is argued that Tesla received $35,000 to $45,000 in carbon-credit sales for each Model S. Most critics argue that this is not sustainable.
Despite the well-thought-out arguments that accompany this doomsday outlook, there are three key reasons why Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s rally still hasn’t played out.
Tesla is considerably small when stacked against some of its competitors. Nonetheless, it has been able to put up a formidable fight in the U.S. It has pulled this off through enhanced product differentiation.
In the first quarter of 2013, its luxury Model S performed better than most of its supposedly bigger peers. Model S sales figures came out ahead of big names like Mercedes and BMW in the luxury segment. Going by Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s own numbers, the Model S delivered more than 4,750 vehicles in the U.S. Numbers from BMW’s 7 series paled in comparison to this; coming in at 2,338.
How did Tesla manage to pull this off?
In addition to selling style and comfort like its peers, Tesla went the extra mile to offer energy efficiency and flexible payment plans. It not only enhanced its selling point by arguing that Tesla was the best choice in view of uncertain gas prices, but it made a convincing move to rope in users from the mass market as well. Tesla CEO Elon Musk earlier on in the year unveiled a new lease-buy scheme that reduced the burden of paying lump sums and instead argued for monthly car lease costs of about $500.
Big players like General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) have now diversified their risks in the luxury segment in view of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s aggressive stance. Instead of focusing largely on its U.S home market, the auto bigwig has instead expanded its luxury footprint in the world’s biggest automobile market, China. It has now started working on setting up a Cadillac factory in Shanghai and hopes to compete with brands such as Audi and BMW.
Customer experience is another area that Tesla has taken a profound emphatic stance. As you now know, Tesla directly makes contact with its end consumers. The company has scrapped the need for car dealers and has instead replaced dealer showrooms with its own factory-owned stores. This move greatly improves the customer experience and heightens the chances of achieving unprecedented customer-retention rates. The introduction and subsequent growth of TeslaMotorsClub.com, a site dedicated to sharing insights on the brand, has also helped customers build an incredible relationship with the company.