Stock in the electric-vehicle pioneer
is rising despite a terrible review for the company’s new Model S Plaid edition. The company’s Chinese production numbers in August appear to matter more than criticism of Tesla’s $130,000 muscle car.
Tesla (ticker: TSLA) stock was up about 0.7% in premarket trading, while futures on the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
futures were both down a little. The move in Tesla stock is small, for now, because the good news and the bad news offset each other. Neither issue seems important enough to change the minds of Tesla investors.
First, the bad news. Automotive data provider Edmunds reviewed Tesla’s Model S Plaid edition, which is billed as the fastest car ever produced in volume on an assembly line. In optimal conditions, it can accelerate from zero to 60 miles an hour in under 2 seconds.
Edmunds was impressed by the acceleration, but panned just about everything else. The yoke steering wheel is difficult to manage on slick surfaces, the handling on curves doesn’t match other high-end cars, Edmunds said, also nitpicking issues dealing with user interface and experience. The title of the video, posted Tuesday, sums it up: “Why Tesla’s Plaid’s a Waste of Money.”
It certainly isn’t great news, but Tesla bulls don’t have all that much to worry about. For starters, the S isn’t expected to generate big sales volumes. The car starts at about $130,000 and is a refreshed version of a sedan launched almost a decade ago. Tesla’s future success is more about the Model 3, Model Y, Cybertruck and a smaller vehicle that has yet to be launched. Even the reviewer for Edmunds drives a Tesla Model 3.
The good news for Tesla Wednesday are the wholesale numbers reported by the Chinese Passenger Car Association. Tesla shipped a record 44,264 vehicles from its Shanghai facility in August. It exported about 31,000 to Europe and delivered about 13,000 vehicles in China.
Tesla delivered about 33,000 vehicles from its Shanghai facility in July, with about 24,000 exported and 9,000 delivered in China. Tesla says it prioritizes exports from its Shanghai facility early in any calendar quarter, focusing on local deliveries later.
The August figure works out to more than 530,000 vehicles a year. That is a big number for a single automotive plant and impressive given the global semiconductor shortage that has constrained car production all year.
Overall, Tesla is expected to deliver about 220,000 vehicles in the third quarter, from both its U.S. and Chinese facilities. The company delivered about 201,000 in the second quarter. Wall Street expects Tesla to deliver about 475,000 vehicles in the third and fourth quarter of 2021.
Coming into Wednesday, Tesla stock was up about 7% year to date, trailing behind the broader market. Over the past three months, though, the shares are up about 25%.
Write to Al Root at [email protected]