Tesla (TSLA), the electric car maker, may have dominated the “Auto 2.0” market, but its near-monopoly could be coming to an end if Morgan Stanley’s prognostication proves true.
In a research report covered by Reuters, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jones argued that over the next few years Tesla is going to see a more-crowded and volatile landscape which could weigh on the stock. "Where we have substantially higher conviction on the Tesla story is our longer-term thesis that the company will face greater levels of competition than the market anticipates in the domains of electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, and shared mobility," wrote the analyst in a research report. He pointed to Amazon.com’s (AMZN) interest in the transportation market as well as Alphabet’s (GOOG) self-driving business that is starting to ramp up as enhanced competition. (See more: Why Tesla's Stock Can Soar to New Highs.)
What’s more, the Wall Street analyst said investors can use any delivery milestones for Tesla’s Model 3 as a point to exit the stock before more challenges surface. Jones is upbeat about Model 3 production, noting that the company should overcome issues and ramp that up this year.
For much of 2017 Tesla was in what Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk called “production hell” for the Model 3 sedan. The company had a goal of producing 5,000 Model 3s by the end of 2017, but due to product snafus, it fell short, with Musk delaying the targets twice. In its most recent earnings conference call, Musk said the company was “swiftly exiting” the production hell and was on track to "become the best manufacturer in the automotive industry." At the time, he pointed to recent acquisitions of advanced automation companies to bolster production and its move to bring on more talent to improve production rates. (See more: Tesla Bear Turns Optimistic on Model 3 Production.)
The call out of Morgan Stanley comes as Tesla announced Chief Accounting Officer Eric Branderiz left the company for what he said in an email to CNBC are personal reasons. "I enjoyed my time at Tesla, and I've been fortunate to work at such a great company with such an exceptional team. I've simply made a personal decision to leave and take some time off," the email stated, according to CNBC. Branderiz had been with Tesla since 2016, noted CNBC.