Tesla (TSLA) stock opened its trading in the red zone on Thursday and remained grounded as investors remained cautious about analysts’ view on Model 3 production and cancellations. In mid-July, CEO Elon Musk had opened sale of Model 3 in North America with a delivery deadline of one to three months. The cheapest version was pegged at $50,000.
Research firm Needham on Thursday downgraded the stock to SELL over worries that Model 3 cancellation rate would increase due to the extension of the waiting period, unavailability of a promised base model for $35,000, and the expiration of the $7,500 credit on the EV purchase. In August 2017, Tesla had a refund rate of 12% and the firm now believes the rate might soon touch 24%.
Meanwhile, research firm Munro and Associates believe Model 3 would lift Tesla out of losses with a profit margin in the 25% range. However, market observers feel Musk is depending too much on increased Model 3 production so as to achieve profitability, something that is yet to be seen.
The waiting list for Model 3 currently stands at 400,000, according to experts at Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, and Consumer Reports. By the end of June, Tesla had achieved its Model 3 production goal of 5,000 units a week and had announced plans to achieve 6,000 units per week by August. At the current production rate, Tesla could take 80 weeks to clear the reservation list.
Though the stock gained as much as 7% in the past three months, it has fallen 14% in the last one month. Tesla was trading down 1.59% at $318.90 on the Nasdaq at 1:13 pm ET.