Negative media coverage of electric-car maker Tesla has reached a “peak” in recent weeks, a factor that makes it an attractive investment right now as shares stand to appreciate significantly, according to a research firm.
In a note to clients on Wednesday, Baird analyst Ben Kallo said “sentiment is as negative as we have experienced around [Tesla],” adding that now is the time to “lean into the ‘fever pitch.’” In response to reports on the note, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tore into “big media companies” on Twitter.
Baird predicted that Tesla shares could rise nearly 50% and said it believes the automaker will make strides in ramping up production of its Model 3 sedan, which has been a challenge for the company.
The firm reiterated its outperform rating on the stock.
Among the negative headlines Tesla has been faced in recent weeks are those expressing doubts over its capacity to scale up production of the Model 3, which is viewed as a bellwether of the company’s near-term profitability. The company continues to target a weekly production rate of 5,000 Model 3 sedans by the end of the second quarter, despite starting the quarter at a rate of just 2,000 vehicles.
Earlier this week Consumer Reports said it couldn't recommend the Model 3 because of braking problems, which Musk said the company has addressed.
Meanwhile, at its Fremont, California, plant, Tesla is being investigated by the state's Division of Occupational Safety and Health following reports that it failed to disclose serious injuries at the job site. Tesla has denied any wrongdoing.
Musk’s brainchild is also facing public criticism over a number of recent vehicular accidents, including a fatal crash in Switzerland last week.
Tesla stock is down more than 10% so far this year.