Tesla’s Blitzscaling Efforts Continue
Tesla recently published “An Update to Our Vehicle Lineup” on the company blog, making several tweaks to the Model 3 product line. Tesla is embracing the characteristics of blitzscaling — a net positive for the company.
Autopilot will now come standard, a new Model 3 lease payment plan is available, and some options have been removed from the online ordering process. Here are our takeaways:
- 2019 will be a bumpy year for Tesla as the company continues to experiment with the business model. Longer term, we believe the company will be successful at capturing the growth curves of EV and
- Tesla will no longer offer the $35k Standard Model 3. Tesla made the Standard Plus value proposition better
thanits take rate was 6x greater than Standard. The base Model 3 available on the online ordering menu is now the Standard Plus for $39.5k. Therefore, Tesla is effectively discontinuing the $35k Standard to improve manufacturing efficiencies.
- Discontinuing the $35k Model 3 and making Autopilot standard will relieve gross margin pressure, given the incremental $4.5k is high margin software.
- We believe the company will reintroduce a $35k Model 3 once China Giga gets up to speed. China Giga will likely enable a
lower-pricedModel 3 due to lowercap ex, simplified production lines, cheaper labor, local manufacturing incentives, and no overseas freight.
- Tesla confirmed the Standard Model 3 is a software limited Standard Plus. This makes sense as Tesla listed both vehicle weights at 3,552 lbs, and the Standard Model 3 has a meaningfully worse rating in our Core Efficiency analysis.
- Autopilot is now bundled with all Tesla Model 3 purchases for an extra $2k (previously $3k). As mentioned, the base Model 3 is now Standard Plus for $39.5k.
- Tesla is now leasing Model 3. You can get a Standard Plus for $4,200 due at signing and $504 per month for 36 months. Leasing is a meaningful lever to creating demand given that most small luxury sedans in the US (60%) are leased. The drawback: leasing will measurably negatively affect GAAP financials and cash flow.
- Customers that choose
leasingover owning will not have the option to purchase Model 3 at end of the lease. We expect Tesla to make those vehicles self-driving and supplement the owner fleet in the Tesla Network, their ambitious autonomous ridesharingplatform.
Tesla’s Autonomous Platform. In our view, the new Model 3 lease plan is a small part of Tesla’s determination to build a fully self-driving fleet with regulatory approval within three years. We believe it is more likely 5-7 years away. We expect to learn more details about the platform at Tesla’s autonomy event on April 22nd. The timing of this event may be designed to add a layer of complexity for investors considering the upcoming Uber IPO.
If LiDAR is not necessary for level 5 autonomy, the company has a technical advantage over competitors.
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