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Elon Musk unveiled the Model Y compact sport-utility vehicle with a starting price of $39,000. Shares were up 1% Thursday morning, showing that investors have anxiously looked forward to Tesla’s newest SUV offering.
Tesla has faced continued turmoil over the past month as TSLA struggles with profitability, cash burn, and CEO Elon Musk losing control. After again failing to break out at the $320 level on Feb. 28, TSLA stock has since dropped almost 10%.
The drop in the Tesla stock price follows Musk’s most recent announcement that the electric car maker will not be profitable in Q1 2019. Tesla has struggled since its inception to turn a profit and has never done so for three consecutive quarters.
Much of the blame for the recent dismal performance in TSLA stock can be attributed to founder and CEO Musk. He seems way more interested in managing his own public relations than fixing the problems within his company. His erratic behavior has long been a cause for concern and a risk for the company; now that risk is being expressed in a lower Tesla stock price.
“Bringing the Sexy Back”?
The new Model Y is about 10 percent bigger than the Model 3, seats seven, features a panoramic glass roof and 66 cubic feet of cargo space, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said, showing off a Model Y prototype at the Tesla Design Center in Hawthorne, California on Thursday night.
According to Musk, however, the Model Y will share about 75 percent of its components with the company’s Model 3 electric sedans, allowing Tesla to start manufacturing the new SUV for far less money that it spent to begin producing the Model 3.
Jessica Caldwell, the executive director of industry analysis at Edmunds. Competition thinks that Tesla will have to execute well in order to take advantage of that opportunity.
“If Tesla truly wants to be a mainstream brand, it’s going to have to figure out how to sell cars to people besides young men in California. Tesla has the right foundation for the Model Y to be a turning point: Tesla has the youngest buyer base of any luxury brand, and the Model X has more female buyers than any other vehicle in the brand’s lineup. If the Model Y is priced right, offers a roomy interior, and delivers flawless safety and quality, it has the potential to be the ‘it’ vehicle for young families.”
Vertical Group analyst Gordon Johnson thinks that if demand for Tesla’s range of electric vehicles doesn’t start to rise quickly, Tesla’s stock could sink to new lows. Johnson said Tesla has a demand problem attributed to the Model 3:
“The demand problem is the Model 3 is not a mass-market car. It’s a luxury car.”
While unveiling the new model, Musk came out to give a monologue about the origins of Tesla in his unique stuttering, off the cuff, style while they showcased the product line, starting with their first ever car (serial number 01) and working through the different models. He also announced that they will build superchargers in Kazakhstan, and a Tesla could be driving on Mars in 10 years.
Model Y, being an SUV, is about 10% bigger than Model 3, so will cost about 10% more & have slightly less range for same battery
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 3, 2019
He also joked:
“We are bringing ‘SEXY’ back quite literally.”
This month, Tesla was forced to make a $920-million payment to retire convertible bonds that were due. Had the company’s share price, which closed Thursday at $289.96, remained at $360 or above, at least some of that debt could have been converted into stock. The company reported having $3.7 billion in cash at the end of 2018 and faces a $183-million debt payment next month.
Newly Appointed CFO Will Receive Stock-Option Grant of $12M
Let’s not forget that Tesla disclosed Thursday that it appointed Zachary Kirkhorn as its chief financial officer, succeeding Deepak Ahuja who is retiring. Tesla’s stock rose 1.1% in premarket trade. Kirkhorn, who joined Tesla in 2010, has been vice president of finance, financial planning and business operations since December 2018.
Tesla also named Corporate Controller Vaibhav Taneja as its chief accounting officer.
Separately, Tesla said Kirkhorn will receive a stock-option grant of $12 million and a restricted stock unit grant of $4 million, which will vest over four years. Taneja will receive a stock option grant of $6 million and a restricted stock unit grant of $2 million, which will vest over four years.
Mustang Decided to Go Hybrid
Based on that is so far known, the upcoming hybrid Mustang will offer “V8-like performance,” but probably won’t have a V8 under the hood. Unless it’s the hybrid V8 the company filed a patent for in January. Expect the electrified Mustang to debut in 2021, shortly after the next-generation Mustang’s debut sometime next year.