We’ve gotten used to hearing Elon Musk speak right up when anyone in the press disses Tesla. This time however, it was a Forbes columnist who took up the pen to defend the fair maiden’s honor.
Merrill Lynch auto analyst John Lovallo, a confirmed Tesla bear, recently published a research note in which he “came just short of accusing Musk and company of outright lying during Tesla’s third-quarter conference call,” according to Mark Rogowsky.
Mr. Lovallo wrote that Tesla’s inventories are rising, that it is struggling in China, and that it isn’t earning much money on its cars. Mr. Rogowsky addresses these points one by one, using figures from Tesla’s SEC filings to argue that all three are false.
He estimates that Tesla made $346 million in profits from vehicle sales in the past 6 months, and that the company has a better gross margin than BMW.
Rogowsky concedes that there is a bearish case to be made for Tesla (Musk himself has said TSLA stock is “kind of high”), but believes it rests on uncertainty about the Gigafactory, Model 3 and Model X – not on fudged figures in public financial statements.