Why I upgraded Tesla stock: Wedbush analyst
Enthusiasm from potential car buyers and a competitive edge would lead Tesla Motors stock higher, Craig Irwin of Wedbush Securities said Tuesday.
"So, Tesla's not positioned to disappoint anytime soon. These guys are going to keep executing, keep making expectations for the foreseeable future," he said.
The Wedbush analyst upgraded Tesla stock to "outperform" with a price target of $240 per share. Previously, Irwin had held a "neutral" rating and a price target of $180.
On CNBC's "Fast Money," Irwin said that a survey of 892 probable auto buyers helped lead to the upgrade.
"We were pleasantly surprised at the number of people that have enthusiasm for these cars and that are willing to put down the extra money to get into an electric vehicle," he said.
"That means the Gen 3 vehicle is most likely a much-higher volume vehicle than we were previously considering, and that means that the longer-term earnings for Tesla will be significantly higher than where we previously thought."
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Irwin added that Tesla's drivetrain had achieved cost parity with other comparable vehicles, which could lead to lower costs by 2015.
"In that case, why would there be a premium? So, really, it would be the enthusiasm of the buyers in the market to buy these vehicles—possibly for the same price, maybe for a better price—that would really be the longer-term buyer, longer-term driver," he said.
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Irwin, who said that his background was in battery technology, also noted Tesla's advantage in this area.
"I've not seen a competitor that has a cost structure on their battery that will approach what Tesla has," he said. "That means they will be fundamentally higher priced and less competitive with the products that they bring to market.
"For example, I really like the BMW i3. It's getting some good orders. It will see decent traction. But I'm skeptical that the price point that they're going to be selling this at, that they're going to make anything close to the amount of money that Tesla makes on the vehicles that they launch," he said.
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"If they can cut the cost of their battery in half, then we've got a winner, and that's why I'm upgrading it."