Tesla shares (NASDAQ:TSLA) proved volatile after the opening bell on Wednesday, as both bullish and bearish analysts took their stance following the electric car maker’s annual shareholder meeting. During the investor event, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, CTO JB Straubel, and VP for Tech Drew Baglino discussed the company’s expansion, its product lineup, and the company’s projects for the coming years.
Musk directly addressed concerns about the Model 3’s alleged weakening demand, a bearish thesis that has gained ground since the company reported its lower-than-expected Q1 2019 figures. During the shareholder meeting, the CEO noted that sales are still exceeding Tesla’s production capabilities, and the company has a pretty fair chance at setting new records this second quarter. “I want to be clear that there is not a demand problem… absolutely not. Sales have far exceeded production, and production has been pretty good. We have a decent shot at a record quarter,” Musk said.
Apart from highlighting the strong demand for the company’s vehicles, Musk also covered Tesla’s lead in electric car technology over more experienced rivals. Showing a slide that compared the efficiency of Tesla’s vehicles compared to the competition such as the Audi e-tron, Musk joked that while he does not want to poke fun at rivals, “there’s room for improvement.” Other projects, such as the Solar Roof, Gigafactory Europe, the Tesla Truck, and Full Self-Driving (among many) were also discussed.
Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting was received positively by the company’s supporters on Wall Street. Baird analyst Ben Kallo, for one, maintained his $340 price target while reiterating his “Outperform” rating on Tesla. “Management indicated demand is not a concern; we believe the narrative is overly negative and think Bear arguments will be disproven in the coming weeks and months,” the firm noted.
True to form, Tesla bears interpreted the recent shareholder meeting in a negative light. Gabe Hoffman of Accipiter Capital, a longtime TSLA bear, claimed that the event saw Elon Musk dialing down on the company’s plans for a network of full self-driving robotaxis. “Elon already started backtracking on the whole 2020 robotaxi thing,” Hoffman noted, claiming that Musk’s statements were indicative of shifting narratives that the CEO employs to distract investors from the company’s deeper problems.
Hoffman’s comments about the annual shareholder meeting appear to be misplaced, as Musk only reiterated Tesla’s plans to have a fleet of around 1 million robotaxi-capable vehicles by next year during the shareholder meeting. Considering that Tesla equips all its new cars with its custom FSD computer, this goal is more than feasible. This point appears to have been misinterpreted by Hoffman, who seems to have taken Musk’s statements during the previous Autonomy Day to mean that Tesla will have a fleet of Robotaxis by 2020.
The annual shareholder meeting was, in many ways, a show of strength from the electric car maker. Musk, together with the CTO and VP for Tech, exuded confidence in the company’s current and future plans. Straubel, in particular, was very involved, seemingly debunking the speculations that he is starting to distance himself from Tesla. With Musk assuring investors that demand is strong and Q2 could be poised to pleasantly surprise, TSLA stock could very well see more green days before the end of the quarter.
As of writing, TSLA stock is trading -1.57% at $213.70 per share.
Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.