Barclays cuts Tesla price target to $192 from $210 after ‘un-iPhone moment’

Barclays analyst Brian Johnson lowered his price target for Tesla (TSLA) to $192 from $210 and keeps an Underweight rating on the shares. The stock close yesterday down 3%, or $9.43, to $285.36. Much of the bull narrative has rested on Tesla being the next Apple (AAPL), selling high-volume electric vehicles at a premium price point and high gross margins, Johnson tells investors in a research note titled “Challenging the pivoting bull thesis.” The analyst, however, believes this narrative is undermined by Tesla’s recent price cuts and closing of most of its stores. Johnson calls Tesla’s “surprise” announcement of a sooner than expected $35,000 Model 3 an “un-iPhone moment.” He believes lower margins are not likely to be offset by increased volumes and cost saves. Tesla moved away from its core strategy by shifting the narrative from product differentiation to cost leadership, says the analyst. And with it, the bull narrative has now shifted to Tesla becoming the Amazon (AMZN) of automotive, and the Model 3 becoming the modern day Model T, according to Johnson. The analyst challenges the “emerging bull thesis on multiple fronts.” He believes the sooner than expected $35,000 Model 3, rather than reflecting progress on manufacturing and distribution costs, likely reflects the need for Tesla to replenish its cash position after the convertible bond repayment.

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