Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) is a “flagship holding” for Piper Sandler analyst Alexander Potter, who indicated the all-electric automaker’s stock is simply a must-have following the impressive delivery and production numbers the company reported late last week. Even with unpredictability and uncertainty regarding its upcoming Gigafactories, Tesla is still primed to be a big winner in the savvy EV sector moving forward, Potter said in a note.
Tesla reported 184,800 deliveries during Q1 2021, an impressive feat that peaked over Wall Street’s consensus for what was expected in the new year’s introductory quarter. Potter highlights this in a note to investors, where he indicated the Wall Street estimates were bested by Tesla’s real-life performance by over 10,000 units. Apparently avoiding bottlenecks that plagued other automakers with production delays, like the global semiconductor shortage, Tesla seemed to “sidestep” these issues in Q1, bringing together a quickly accelerating production push of its two mass-market vehicles to deliver impressive figures that no analyst could have predicted.
“Tesla apparently sidestepped the semiconductor shortages, battery bottlenecks, and shipping delays that plagued many other automakers during Q1,” Potter wrote, according to TheStreet. Still, the impressiveness of Tesla’s Q1 cannot completely be attributed to the company’s evident ability to defy all odds, even with supply shortages. The more impressive factor was the fact that Tesla was able to accomplish such a monumental quarter while navigating the absence of two of its vehicles: the Model S and the Model X, which are the subject of focus moving into Q2.
While the Model 3 and Model Y continue to gain popularity across the world, the Model S and Model X remain absent from Tesla’s current lineup of deliverable vehicles. Despite the company delivering a few thousand units of the flagship S and X vehicles thanks to inventory, the cars didn’t contribute very much. This is an expectation CEO Elon Musk highlighted several years ago during an Earnings Call, where he said the S and X were still produced for “sentimental reasons.”
Despite the company’s inability to scrap its two luxury models, the Model S and Model X were the most recent focus of Tesla’s “refresh” project that spread across all four of its electric models over the past eight months. The Model 3 and Model Y underwent very minor cosmetic changes, while the Model S and Model X were basically overhauled and redesigned on the inside. Slight exterior changes were also spotted upon the vehicle’s first sightings at the Tesla Fremont Factory, but the interior design rehabilitation took center stage when Tesla released images during the Q4 2020 Earnings Call in late January.
Potter believes that S and X deliveries would have increased Tesla’s Q1 2021 delivery figures by around 15,000 units, giving Tesla a massive 200,000+ delivery quarter. The concerns from the Piper Sandler analyst do not have to do with the uncertainty regarding Model S and Model X deliveries to customers, but rather the unexpected delays that Gigafactory projects are experiencing. While Tesla has been extremely vocal regarding the first production dates of its upcoming manufacturing plants, Potter believes that uncertainty with Tesla’s other models could translate to some delays at Giga Texas and Giga Berlin, but it’s not making the analyst change his outlook on the electric automaker.
“We still think these new factories could cause margin pressure, delivery delays, and temporary multiple compression,” Potter said, “but we don’t want to overthink things: TSLA is a flagship holding, and we would own the shares.“
Tesla Giga Berlin is slated to begin production of the Model Y later this Summer, while Giga Texas timeframes remain uncertain at the present time. Tesla planned on Giga Texas being able to produce and deliver the first Cybertruck units by the end of 2021, but Musk recently told Joe Rogan that the company will accomplish this if they’re lucky.
“If we get lucky, we’ll be able to do a few deliveries toward the end of this year, but I expect volume production to be in 2022,” Musk said.
Alex Potter holds an average return of 34.2% and a nearly 5-star rating. He is ranked #328 out of over 7,400 analysts on TipRanks.com.