Tesla Motors, Inc. Financial Analysis
September 23, 2013
Tesla Motors, Inc. was founded in early 2003 by a group of Silicon Valley engineers, incorporated in Delaware on July 1 of the same year, and is now headquartered in Palo Alto, California (“Tesla- Investor”). The company designs, develops and manufactures electric vehicles and electric vehicle powertrain components. Tesla also provides the same services and powertrain components to other manufacturers of electric vehicles (Analysts Corner 2). Tesla Motors is best known for producing the Tesla Roadster, an all electric sports car released in 2008, with outstanding performance results (“About Tesla”). Tesla has developed a unique marketing plan that differs from the traditional automotive industry by marketing and selling its products over the internet and through a global network of 32 stores that are owned and operated by Tesla. The company has 2,964 employees and has electric vehicles on the road in 37 countries around the globe (“About Tesla”; Analysts Corner 2).
On June 29, 2010 Tesla Motors Inc. became the first American car company to go public since the Ford Motor Company in 1956. The company offered 11.8 million shares priced at $1 above the initial offering at $17. The IPO was so successful that Tesla offered an additional 20% equity in the company by increasing the offering to $13.3 million shares to meet demand. The company raised a total of $226 million, the stock price soaring up 41% to $25 a share on opening day (Andrejczak). Today, Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) is traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange at a price of more than $180 a share. The stock has grown over 800% since its IPO and now Tesla has a market capitalization of over $22 billion. This impressive increase in stock price may come as a surprise to many investors due to the company’s earnings, or lack thereof. Given the current economic conditions, the relatively new market and existing competition; the Tesla stock price is grossly overvalued.
Tesla produces an outstanding product with an outstanding price tag. The new Tesla S was designed to compete in the luxury sports car arena along with BMW, Mercedes and Audi. Tesla has estimated that 21,000 Model S will roll out of its production facility in 2013 at a sticker price between $70,000 and $100,000 (Seetharaman; Finger). This year, Mercedes will sell 25,000 luxury sedans in that price range to U.S. consumers and BMW just slightly less than Mercedes (Finger). Tesla has estimated it will produce 40,000 Model S next year, almost twice the number of BMW’s sold in that price range. In the post recessionary economic climate of 2013, there is not a strong demand for vehicles in this price range, even with the $7500 tax credit offered to consumers. The Tesla Model S is still out of reach for most Americans. There are more reasonably priced alternatives in the EV market such as the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt, but sales have been sluggish (Stammers; Alpert). General Motors recently “announced a $5,000 formal price cut for the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid” and Chrysler has opted to stay out of the EV market until “dragged there by consumers” (Buss). Since the key to the future profitability of Tesla Motors is in the mass production of an affordable EV, demand for the product becomes paramount. As Dale Buss, an automotive industry journalist explains; It’s one thing for Tesla to sell nearly 1,500 Model S a month at about $70,000 apiece in the U.S. market these days; when Elon Musk’s startup attempts to penetrate the lower part of the EV market with its own model, success will be a lot harder to come by. (Buss) Tesla intends to meet that challenge with the 2016 release of the Gen. III., a Tesla EV with the range of a Model S, but half the price. The 200 mile range of a Tesla EV is what gives it a competitive advantage over other more affordable EVs, but at the cost of additional batteries (Alpert). The...
Cited: "About Tesla Motors." Teslamotors.com, 2013. Web. 23 Sep 2013. .
Alpert, Bill. "Recharge Now!." Online.barrons.com, 2013. Web. 24 Sep 2013.
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