The Tesla Fear Mongering Must Stop

Jul. 7.14 | About: Tesla Motors (TSLA)


Another article out this morning tells the story of a stolen Tesla that wrapped into a wall at 100mph; the driver survived and walked away from the car.

The car split in half, which is what's pulling the stock down. That's physics - it's what happens when you drive a vehicle into a wall at high speeds.

As sure as I was the fire scare tactics were a farce, I'm sure this headline is a farce too. I might buy if the stock takes a major dip.

I'm not sure how much more of this idiotic fear mongering we're going to have to subjected to every time someone in a Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) does something as minor as gets a flat tire. Starting with the reports of fires in the vehicle - after they crashed violently into objects - scrutiny continues to be on the excruciating minutiae of every news item that involves someone driving a Tesla vehicle, regardless of whether or not it holds any material value.

Take this morning's report, for instance. It's a terrible report about a stolen Tesla that was taken on a joyride and wound up costing several people their lives. Not the Tesla driver, however, he's fine. This news sent Tesla's stock down nearly 1% this morning in pre-market trading - despite only saying good things about the product.

Tesla doesn't have control over who steals cars and ultimately what they do with them. In other words, it's not the company's fault that some felon stole a car and wrecked it.

This article, in USA Today reported:

Two horrific crashes involving Teslas this weekend may help bolster the electric car maker's safety claims.

In the first crash, a stolen Tesla electric car split in two after a fiery crash on a West Hollywood, Calif., street following a police chase at speeds up to 100 mph. There were several injuries in the multicar crash, but no deaths at the scene, authorities say.

In the second crash, a Tesla rear-ended a Toyota Corolla on a California freeway in Palmdale, Calif., north of Los Angeles. The Toyota split in half, killing the 40-year-old driver and two boys. Two others were injured. The driver of the Tesla escaped with minor injuries, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In the first incident, the Tesla Model S apparently split after striking a pole at the end of the chase early Friday, resulting in injuries to several people, according to Los Angeles police statements to KTLA-TV, which captured dramatic video of the event.

KTLA reported that the chase began after a Tesla dealership reported the car was being tampered with on its lot. Photographs of the scene appear to show the Tesla's rear end wedged between a wall at a synagogue, several dozen feet from the front half, which came to rest next to two other wrecked cars in the middle of the street. From the photograph, it appears the Tesla Model S split behind the front seats.

The horrific crashes could bolster safety claims made last month by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. He told shareholders that no one had died in a Tesla or had a "single permanent injury" despite some dramatic crashes and more than 344 million miles of driving from all the cars on the road. "That is certainly one of our proudest accomplishments," he said.

Did you read that right? The people in the Toyota (NYSE:TM) who were rear ended, unfortunately, lost their lives. This was the fault of the driver in the Tesla - anytime you rear end someone, it's your fault. That has nothing to do with the vehicle itself and how safe it is. If this was a self-driving vehicle and this happened, different story. But, this is a normal, human operated vehicle which got into an accident because of a human error.

Secondly, in the stolen car scenario, the driver was found to be fine. I'm sorry that people think it's terrible that the car split in half, but that's just the nature of the quantum world in which we live. Elon Musk can do a lot of things, but he can't take the stupidity out of some people and he can't rewrite physics as we know it.

The sooner that we realize that the product is doing everything that it should be - protecting its drivers and performing as designed - the sooner we can get a clearer picture of where the fault should go in a situation like this. The last place it should wind up is on Tesla's stock price. These two incidents have absolutely nothing to do with how the market should see the company. GM (NYSE:GM), on the other hand, is a prime example of when a botched designs should effect the stock price.

Tesla's record of no one dying in one their vehicles remains unscathed - but, being a realist, at some point someone is going to do something stupid enough that is going to lead them to die in a Tesla crash. That's just the law of probabilities. When it happens, the headlines will likely drive the stock price down again - even though the NHTSA has come out and proclaimed Tesla to one of the safest vehicles ever made.

The fear mongering needs to stop. But, as long as it continues, I will be buying off the efforts of those selling into headlines like this. I plan on opening a long position or options spread in Tesla today if the stock sells off on the open.

Best of luck to all Tesla longs here. I continue to believe Tesla is going to be a massive long-term success.

Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in TSLA over the next 72 hours. The author wrote this article themselves, and it expresses their own opinions. The author is not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). The author has no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.