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Nov 22, 2019

Tesla's 'stealth bomber' pickup fails to thrill Wall Street

Tesla shares sink after Cybertruck launch goes awry


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Tesla Inc. slumped in pre-market trading after the electric carmaker’s newly unveiled pickup truck elicited mixed response on Wall Street, with many analysts saying the “particularly futuristic” design may relegate it to niche vehicle status.

While the US$39,900 starting price was below what the Street expected, Cowen analyst Jeffrey Osborne said that lowest-priced variant may never see the light of day. However, the pickup truck’s range and towing capacity were largely seen as “surprisingly strong.”

Tesla shares fell 4 per cent before the opening bell.

Here’s a roundup of the analyst comments post-launch.

Cowen, Jeffrey Osborne

(Underperform, Price Target US$190)

“In a night to be remembered for the Armored Glass fail, Tesla’s Cybertruck reveal will likely disappoint current pickup truck owners and we see the vehicle remaining a niche and not a mainstream product.”

“The Blade Runner inspired design appears to be the most controversial feature.”

“The base price of US$39,900 is likely never to be seen, just as the US$35k Model 3 has failed to materialize.”

“Tesla appears to have rushed its launch of the Cybertruck in our view as it did not even have side mirrors or windshield wipers.”

Evercore ISI, Arndt Ellinghorst

(Underperform, PT US$200)

“Aside from the ‘armor glass’ windows smashing, the truck’s ‘artisanal’ cyber styling and excessive specs will likely result in a niche product made exclusively for a very conspicuous variant of EV enthusiasts and is unlikely to seriously threaten/disrupt incumbent truck makers or may even fall short of broader pickup new entrants such as Rivian.”

Wedbush, Daniel Ives

(neutral, PT US$270)

The truck’s design looks “more like a stealth bomber than a pickup truck.”

“The most impressive and eye popping part of the design is the ‘ultra hard’ stainless steel alloy that Musk is using with Space X on its Starship rocket.”

“Tesla’s pickup truck is surprisingly strong with towing capabilities north of Ford’s F150 and Rivian’s R1T, which is about 11,000 pounds.”

“From a demand perspective this will be a more niche market, as we believe hitting the 150,000/175,000 unit threshold in its first full year of deliveries (likely 2022) is the line in the sand out of the gates and could be a tough bogey to hit.”

Deutsche Bank, Emmanuel Rosner


“The truck’s design is particularly futuristic, and its claimed specifications very solid, including battery ranges of 250-500 miles, towing capacity of 7,500 to 14,000 lbs, and 0-60 mph acceleration in 2.9-6.5 seconds.”

“The biggest surprise is probably its relatively affordable advertised pricing, ranging US$40,000-US$70,000 depending on the performance level.”

Baird, Ben Kallo

(Outperform, PT US$355)

“The radical design will likely be a point of discussion, but over time we expect impressive features will win over a larger audience.”

“The Cybertruck showcases how electric vehicles can bring impressive capabilities to a variety of applications, well beyond basic commuter cars.”

“We think vehicle specifications came in toward the higher end of expectations, particularly the low initial price point.”

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