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New Developments For Tesla

Jul. 04, 2020 11:03 AM ETTesla, Inc. (TSLA)NIO, NKLA, NKLAW, WKHS
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Ruerd Heeg's Blog
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Delivery numbers over Q2 2020

Tesla (TSLA) just announced its delivery numbers over Q2 2020. Apparently Mark Spiegel does not trust them. On Twitter he estimates Tesla only sold 18k model 3/Ys in the US last quarter. In Asia Q2 model 3/Ys sales are estimated at 35k and in Europe at 11k. With another 4k sold in the rest of the world model 3 deliveries would then be 68k. With slightly more than 10k model S/X deliveries I arrive at about 80k deliveries in Q2. So there is a gap of 10k cars with Tesla official delivery statement.

Unfortunately Tesla does not disclose numbers of cars sold in the US, and in the US registration does not happen immediately before or after each car is sold. So there is room for differences. But it is not the first time on the ground observations (see for example here) are not consistent with the number of cars sold in the US implied by Tesla's delivery announcements. This was also the case in the third and fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020. If it was just a coincidence one would expect at least one quarter with Tesla announcing a lower delivery number than suggested by on the ground observations.

Moreover from posts like this one it seems Tesla is counting certain deliveries twice. Furthermore there are allegations Tesla is self-registering cars in Europe.

Musk trolling the SEC

Musk tweeted about another acronym for "SEC" with "Elon's" in the middle. I wonder why he brings this up again after calling the SEC the "Short seller enrichment commission" a long time ago. At the time the reason was clear: he was being sued by the SEC.

What would be the reason now? Does it have anything to do with these repeated short trips to Mexico? Did Tesla just get a Wells notice?

Fact is many expected Tesla to dilute in the second quarter. That did not happen but instead Musk tweeted the stock price was too high. See also here.

Why the stock price went up

What happened here is similar to dotcom stocks 2 decades ago. Not only Tesla shares went up, also shares of other EV companies such as NIO (NIO), Workhorse (WKHS) and Nikola (NKLA). Lots of new investors have pushed these stocks to extremely high valuations. They are going to be much disappointed. In case of Tesla it seems the company first downplayed expectations much and than announced these better than expected deliveries.

But how good are these deliveries really? In Q2 last year Tesla announced similar deliveries and still booked hundreds of millions of losses. With an extra assembly factory, extensive downtime, and a lower margin product mix it is unlikely to get any better this quarter, unless Tesla resorts to massive earnings manipulation.

Stock prices are based on expectations of future profits. In case of Tesla I do not see how they can produce durable profits. See also this thread showing a Chinese court deciding Tesla has defrauded one of its customers. How is that going to help Chinese sales?

Bottom line

There are too many reasons for not trusting Tesla's numbers. Furthermore I expect this electrical vehicle stock market hype to cool down pretty soon. Therefore my opinion on the stock is still: strong sell.

Analyst's Disclosure: I am/we are short TSLA.

Global Deep Value Stocks is a long only newsletter. I do not discuss stocks like Tesla in Global Deep Value Stocks.

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