Here's the Only Company More Misunderstood Than Apple
Why? Because he's not a bean counter. He thinks about the big picture. He conducts on-the-ground research in Silicon Valley, among other places. And his hard work produces some of the best articles on TheStreet.
Prior to earnings, Wahlman said to pay attention to Model S demand and Tesla's timeline to profitability. After the report, he emailed:
The only thing that matters in this report is that they have accelerated profitability by 9 months (4Q13 to 1Q13) while maintaining the 2013 sales goal of 20,000 cars. This is a clear incremental positive.
Everything else is noise ...
Wahlman stayed consistent not because he wants to be right, but because he is right. There's a relatively small, yet meaningful difference between the two things.
Investors misunderstand some stocks to the upside. Netflix (NFLX) -- prime example. Though I don't agree, others consider Amazon.com (AMZN) the poster child. Other companies/stocks get misunderstood to the downside. Pandora (P) , though on a nice run of late, and Apple (AAPL) come to mind, but there's no stock more misunderstood -- whether it's going up or down -- than TSLA.
Tesla's different for many reasons; in particular, because it's more of a political battleground than a Wall Street battleground. It's bad enough when the media influences sentiment -- and, subsequently, the stock price -- on names such as AAPL or Facebook (FB) with run-of-the-mill versions of mindless reporting. But it's worse when it plays a role in shaping how people feel about Tesla the company on the basis of governmental policy vis-a-vis the electric car and other so-called "environmentally-friendly" initiatives.
Bearishness towards or even disdain for Tesla often ends up being little more than an outcome of hatred for Barack Obama or "liberal California." The Feds and the state provide tax breaks to people who buy electric cars so, just like that, there's no way EVs can be good -- as cars, as innovation, as a business, as anything.
Like conservative and former General Motors (GM) executive Bob Lutz has said several times, right wing smear campaigns cloud reality and rational conversation over electric vehicles.
Tesla's not a car company. It's closer to Apple and Lululemon (LULU) in spirit and execution than it is Ford (F) or GM. In fact, Apple could learn a lot about its roots and better protect its image by taking a close look at Tesla.
Most people in North America (or the world for that matter) will never see a Model S in person. You have to live in certain pockets of the continent (or, again, the world; about a quarter of Tesla's reservations come from outside of the U.S./Canada/Mexico) to catch a glimpse of one, in the flesh, parked curbside, in a lot or zooming down the avenue.