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Tesla could 'go bust' and plunge 91% because it's in a bubble and not growing, longtime bear says

Jennifer Sor   

Tesla could 'go bust' and plunge 91% because it's in a bubble and not growing, longtime bear says
  • Tesla could end up plunging as low as $14 a share, according to longtime bear Per Lekander, a longtime bear who's been shorting the stock since 2020.
  • Lekander, who's been shorting Tesla's stock since 2020, calls it the biggest bubble "in modern history."

Tesla's stock is in a bubble and has "no growth," which puts it at risk of "going bust," according to hedge funder and longtime bear Per Lekander.

Lekander, who told CNBC he's shorted Tesla stock since 2020, cast a fresh warning for Elon Musk's EV maker on Wednesday. The stock has already tumbled 34% so this year amid concerns over EV demand and Musk's commitment to the company. Car deliveries also came in soft over the first quarter — adding insult to injury amid sentiment on Wall Street that's soured for what used to be its favorite stock.

"This was really the beginning of the end of the Tesla bubble, which probably, arguably, was the biggest stock market bubble in modern history. I actually think the stock, the company could go bust," Lekander said to CNBC on Wednesday.

Lekander predicted the stock could plunge to just $14 a share, implying a 91% decline from its current price. He finds fault in Tesla's business model, which he says is dependent on robust revenue growth, integrating vertically to capture profits from car sales, and directly selling cars to consumers.

"That is a brilliant model when [there's] growth … because you actually get paid for growing and you capture all the margin. The problem is, when you go into reverse and sales go down, it also goes in reverse," Lekander said, noting that Tesla was now faced with paying its fixed costs and negative working capital, a situation where liabilities exceed a business's income and assets.

That comes at a time when Tesla is already facing a demand problem, he added. Most of Tesla's sales stem from its Model 3 and Model Y, and a new car model isn't scheduled until 2025. Lekander is skeptical of the timeline, saying it probably won't come out until 2026.

Meanwhile, Tesla's competitors have a fresh line-up on deck for 2024. Volkswagen, for instance, is rolling around 13 new car models this year.

Investors will face a "real shocker" when Tesla rolls out its first quarter earnings report in a few weeks, Lekander predicted, as problems in the company will start showing up in the "real numbers."

"I don't see any reason whatsoever to see any recovery over the next two years, given that these models are stale and given the economy is not rocketing," he later added.

It's worth noting that Lekander, who has been critical of Elon Musk's carmaker for years, has missed on Tesla's monster gains leading up to 2024. By shorting the stock, he's missed out on Tesla's 354% increase since 2020, with shares priced at just under $30 four years ago.

Other Wall Street forecasters, meanwhile, are seeing better days ahead for Tesla, despite a short-term rocky period. Wedbush still sees a 66% upside for the stock, despite a "disaster" first quarter for deliveries.

Tesla did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

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