How to Play the Electric Vehicle Maker Space

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Includes: F, GM, HMC, NSANY, TM, TSLA
by: Rougemont
Many major automakers currently offer or will soon offer electric vehicles in their product lineup. So far, the consumer demand for these vehicles is looking very anemic. In the month of April 2011, the Chevy (NYSE:GM) Volt sold 493 units and the Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) Leaf sold 573 units. These figures represent total sales for North America. Based on the past several months of Volt and Leaf electric vehicle sales, it does not appear that electric vehicle models from other companies will do much better either when they are available for purchase. Below, you can see details on electric vehicles from several major automakers as well as Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), which is the only "pure play" maker of electric vehicles. Since no major car maker in recent history has ever lasted for long with just two models, and I know of none that has made it based solely on electric vehicles, I continue to think some serious challenges are facing Tesla. If you want to play this space, I believe the other makers, which offer more diversification and less risk, are better investment choices. Here are the major potential electric vehicle makers:
General Motors shares are trading at $31.42. General Motors is one of the largest automakers worldwide. The 50 day moving average is $31.59. Earnings estimates for GM are just over $4 per share in 2011, and even more for 2012, so the PE ratio is only about 8.
Details on GM's electric vehicle: GM is making an electric vehicle called the Chevy Volt, which is available now.
Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) shares are trading at $15.26. The 50 day moving average is about $14.94 and the 200 day moving average is about $14.87, so these shares are trading near strong support levels. Ford shares hit a 52 week high of $18.97 earlier this year. Earnings estimates for F are $1.91 per share in 2011, and even more for 2012, which puts the PE ratio at about 7.
Details on Ford's electric vehicle: Ford is making an electric vehicle called the Focus Electric, which will be offered for 2012.
Tesla Motors, Inc. shares trade at $27.67 per share. This company offers the Roadster model and plans to offer a sedan called the "S" model. These shares traded as high as $36.42 in the past year. The 50 day moving average is $25.32 and the 200 day moving average is $24.43. TSLA is estimated to lose about $2.08 per share in 2011, and lose about $1.56 in 2012.
Details on Tesla's electric vehicle: Tesla is making an electric vehicle called the Roadster, which is its sports car model and is are planning to offer a four door called the model S in the future (photos and full details on both models here). Tesla shows innovation, but I do not believe there is enough interest in electric vehicles for this company to prosper.
Honda Motor Co, (NYSE:HMC) shares trade at $38.50 per share. This company manufactures a range of products from cars to generators, and is based in Japan. These shares traded as high as $44.56 in the past year. The 50 day moving average is $37.88 and the 200 day moving average is $37.49. HMC is estimated to earn $3.80 per share in 2011.
Details on Honda's electric vehicle: Honda is making an electric vehicle called "FCX Clarity," which is a fuel cell electric vehicle.
Toyota Motor Co. (NYSE:TM) is trading at $83.63 today. Toyota is a leading auto and truck maker, and is based in Japan. These shares have a 52 week high of $93.90 and a low of $67.56. The 50 day moving average is $80.99 and the 200 day moving average is $77.88. Estimates for TM are about $2 per share in 2011.
Details on Toyota's electric vehicle: Toyota has plans for a Prius Plug In Hybrid for 2012. This vehicle has the ability to operate on gas and electric power.
Nissan Motor Co. is trading at $20.24 today. Nissan is a leading auto and truck maker, and is based in Japan. These shares have a 52 week high of $13.46 and a low of $21.80. The 50 day moving average is $18.25 and the 200 day moving average is $18.31. Estimates for Nissan are about $1.07 per share in 2011.
Details on Nissan's electric vehicle: Nissan currently offers the "Leaf" electric vehicle.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in GM over the next 72 hours.

Disclaimer: The data is sourced from Yahoo Finance and Stockcharts.com. The information and data is believed to be accurate, but no guarantees or representations are made. Rougemont is not a registered investment advisor and does not provide specific investment advice. This information is solely educational in nature and not intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision.