I put a $1,000 deposit on a Tesla Model 3 the day it was announced. At the time I thought of the Model 3 as a smaller, cheaper version of the Model S. So a few days ago I stopped by a Tesla store to check out the Model 3. I was at the store not as an investor evaluating Tesla’s latest product but as a buyer, ready to buy.
The shopping experience ended up being quite odd. Tesla’s Denver store did not have a Model 3 in the showroom or available for a test drive. I was told they will not get one for several months — the Model 3 is infamously behind schedule. But still, Tesla is producing thousands of cars: Why not send 100 to their stores so people can see and drive before they buy?
I thought it was also odd that when I asked a salesman to show me pictures of the Model 3, he did a Google search. He did not even have pictures of the car on Tesla’s internal site (the one he used to show me pricing options). Tesla’s external site also doesn’t have photos of the Model 3, just a few videos.
Also, at $35,000, the basic Model 3 is truly basic. If you want a semi-decent car with leather seats and safety sensors, the price quickly jumps to $55,000 (all-wheel drive won’t be available until late 2018). If you order a Model 3 today, there is a chance you may get tax credits (which could be as high as $12,000 between federal and state), but this completely depends on Tesla’s production schedule, which so far has been disappointing. If your car is delivered after June, the tax credits rapidly decline and then disappear.
It is truly unconscious for a dealer to not have a car on display for people to see.
Tesla goes beyond unconscious to not even having images.
That said, until sentiment collapses, it is very tough to short story stocks. One can easily get blown out of the water.
Krispy Kreme Comparison
Does anyone remember Krispy Kreme Donuts? People were shorting the stock at $10. It rose to nearly $50.
Story stocks are very difficult to time correctly.
Following a meteoric rise, Krispy Kreme fell to one dollar. The article I linked to said it was undervalued at $18.39. That was in 2014.
On May 9, 2016, Krispy Kreme was sold for $21 a share in cash, or roughly 25% more than the doughnut chain's closing price .
There was plenty of money to be made, long or short. But I ask: How many did?
Moreover, there was far more money to be had by being patient and buying at $1, $2, or even $5 between 2008 and 2010 than being short.
Someone taunted me the other day: "How's your Tesla short going?"
I am not short, but those kind of taunts and this kind of news suggests it may be a good idea.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock