Despite a recent barrage of bad news, Tesla is still poised to disrupt the energy and transportation industries, said tech analyst-turned venture capitalist Gene Munster.
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Shares of the electric automaker have fallen under pressure as it is hit with headline after headline. The stock fell 22.4 percent in March, its second-worst month on record. The S&P 500 declined 2.69 percent over the same period.
Last month, Tesla announced a voluntary recall and disclosed that one of its vehicles involved in a fatal crash was in Autopilot mode at the time of the incident.
On Monday, Jalopnik reported that CEO Elon Musk said the company is producing 2,000 Model 3 vehicles per week. That figure falls below the forecast he gave in Tesla’s fourth-quarter letter to investors.
“You can’t just keep missing those targets,” Loup Ventures’ Munster said. “This will be the third quarter in a row where Tesla has missed their model 3 production number.”
In Monday’s session, Tesla shares stumbled 4 percent to close at $252.48. That price represents a 36 percent decline from its September 2017 all-time intraday high of $389.61.
Munster said, however, that Musk should get the credit for steering Tesla through “a lot of the same pain that a lot of other automakers are going to have to go through around this move to batteries and autonomy and ramping production.”
He said these bad headlines for Tesla can distract investors from the “bigger picture.” Munster argued the company “is still exceptionally well positioned for what’s going to be a massive transformation around transportation.”
Tesla’s impact will reach further than just the transportation industry, he said.
“Their mission statement is to accelerate the globe’s adoption rate of renewable energy,” Munster said on “Fast Money” from Minneapolis. “This has little to do with a car. More about energy’s capture, storage in your home and then ultimately used in a vehicle.”
He added that he’s “still a believer,” in Tesla and Musk.
In the spirit of April Fool’s Day, Musk tweeted on Sunday that the company was “bankwupt,” a move that may have angered some investors.
@elonmusk: Elon was found passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by “Teslaquilla” bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks. This is not a forward-looking statement, because, obviously, what’s the point? Happy New Month!
But Munster, a former research analyst at Piper Jaffray, said Musk’s “larger than life” personality “inspires people to walk through walls.”
“In some ways, [the board] probably looks up to him,” Munster said. “They’re going to let Elon be Elon and he’s going to make mistakes as he did over the weekend. It doesn’t change that he’s still the right person for the job ultimately.”