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Tesla Stock Drops On Production Worries, Crash Test Woes

Tesla stock has dropped dramatically from its all time high a few weeks ago. Lower delivery totals are part of that decline as analysts recalibrate their crystal balls in advance of the start of Model 3 production.

The conventional wisdom on Wall Street is that the stock market responds to only two things — fear and greed. That certainly seems to be the case with Tesla stock, which lately has been on a roller coaster ride of epic proportions. A few weeks ago, shares in Tesla were selling for more than $380, making the company worth more than Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, and BMW. Since then, the stock has tumbled down to $310 a share.

Tesla Stock Drops Like A Rock

Yesterday Tesla stock dipped below $330 a share on news that the company delivered a few thousand fewer cars in the second quarter than expected. Adding fuel to the Tesla fire was a new report from David Tamberrino, an analyst at Goldman Sachs, who lowered his projection for Tesla from $190 to $180 a share. Tamberrino cited increased competition from legacy automakers (Volvo announced yesterday all its cars will have a battery and an electric motor by 2019) and a belief that demand for the company’s premium offerings — the Model S and Model X — is softening.

“We remain sell rated on shares of TSLA where we see potential for downside as the Model 3 launch curve undershoots the company’s production targets and as 2H17 margins likely disappoint,” Tamberrino wrote in a note to clients Wednesday, reports CNBC. “This comes as demand for TSLA’s established products (Model S and Model X) appear to be plateauing slightly below a 100k annual run rate.”

Tesla Stock & The Yo-Yo Effect

For the record, what an analyst has to say may or may not have any relationship to reality. Right now, stock analysts at Cowen peg the stock as being worth $155 a share. Berenberg projects its value as $464 per share. I am no professional investor, but I know this much: If you are invested in Tesla and are selling your shares because it missed its target by a few cars or because some guy in New York says he can predict the future better than anyone else, you have no business dabbling in the stock market. Buy lottery tickets instead.

If you buy into Elon Musk’s dream of the future, buy what shares you can and check back every year or so to see how your investment is doing. Letting yourself get caught up in the Tesla yo-yo effect is foolish.

IIHS Crash Test News

Tesla also got some less than spectacular news from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety this week. IIHS says the Tesla Model S did not perform as well as some other similar cars in its small overlap frontal collision test. It says a driver’s head could slam against the steering wheel in such a collision. As a result, it rated the car as “Acceptable.” The highest rating is “Good.” The Mercedes S-Class and Toyota Avalon — two large luxury cars similar to the Model S — received “Good” ratings in the same testing.

IIHS says 25% of all automobile fatalities occur in collisions the small overlay frontal collision test is meant to simulate. Tesla’s “Acceptable” rating in that category kept it from being an IIHS Top Safety Pick. The Chevy Bolt just received that accolade, a fact that must be particularly galling to the Silicon Valley company. Tesla fired back at the IIHS findings, in effect pulling a “Fake News” stunt similar to how the cretin in the White House responds to any unfavorable publicity.

A statement by Tesla to Business Insider reads, “While IIHS and dozens of other private industry groups around the world have methods and motivations that suit their own subjective purposes, the most objective and accurate independent testing of vehicle safety is currently done by the U.S. Government, which found Model S and Model X to be the two cars with the lowest probability of injury of any cars that it has ever tested, making them the safest cars in history.”

So, apparently, IIHS has an agenda and is inherently biased against Tesla. Such defensive posturing is typical of The Donald but is beneath Tesla, which really should rethink its public relations strategy. The truth is that the IIHS crash tests and the tests conducted by the federal government differ in their testing protocols, especially in the area of how the partial offset front end collision procedure is conducted. Dissing IIHS hardly seems an appropriate response, although it is indicative of the “anybody who disagrees with me is a total jerk” ethos that defines social, business, and political discourse in America at present.

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


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