Elon Musk is the 'enemy' inside Tesla, a top Wall Street analyst warns

Elon Musk is the 'enemy' inside Tesla, a top Wall Street analyst warns
Elon Musk has faced concern from Tesla investors and analysts due to his preoccupation with Twitter.Getty Images
  • Jeffries analyst Philippe Houchois warned that Elon Musk poses a risk to Tesla on Thursday.
  • Houchois called Musk "the enemy" inside of Tesla, in an interview with Yahoo Finance.

Elon Musk has become a liability for Tesla, Jeffries analyst Philippe Houchois warned on Thursday.

"We've published research many times in the past where we say the enemy is inside of Tesla," Houchois said in an interview with Yahoo Finance after the carmaker's earnings call. "Musk is an incredible driving force, but he's also the one that brings unnecessary risk, in a way, to the situation."

In the interview, Houchois pointed to concerns over Musk's preoccupation with running Twitter. Though he added that Tesla's January price cuts have helped make the carmaker more attractive.

Complimentary Tech Event
Transform talent with learning that works
Capability development is critical for businesses who want to push the envelope of innovation.Discover how business leaders are strategizing around building talent capabilities and empowering employee transformation.Know More

"The question with Elon Musk is, as an individual, is he does a lot of things, maybe too many things," the analyst said. "He has to self-correct. So he is the person who is going to decide, can I do SpaceX, Tesla, Twitter?"

Despite his skepticism of Musk, Houchois is bullish overall on the stock and the demand for the electric cars, calling the product "still very attractive."


"I think as consumers, yes, you can have reservations about all kinds of things, but you'll be looking as a consumer: 'Is this a product that fits my needs? Is it affordable?'" Houchois said. "And right now, we'll see how the rest of the industry responds to what Tesla has been doing. But right now, it's a very, very good value proposition."

Musk and a Tesla spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment from Insider ahead of publication.

Since Tesla's earnings call on Wednesday, the carmaker's stock has rallied nearly 20%. Insider's Nora Naughton reported that the billionaire calmed Tesla investors during the call, presenting fourth quarter results that exceeded analysts' expectation and a detailed plan for the year ahead.

Still, the Tesla CEO still found time to make several comments about Twitter during the meeting.

At one point he bragged about his popularity on the site in response to a question about whether Tesla was tracking how its favorability had declined in recent months. Last month, UK-based research firm YouGov published the results of a survey that indicated Tesla's approval rating had fallen quickly over the past year into negative territory.


Houchois is one of several Wall Street analysts to express concern over the impact Musk's preoccupation with Twitter has on Tesla.

Some Tesla investors have also been critical of Musk as Tesla's stock has plunged over 20% since the Tesla CEO took Twitter private in late October. Last month, Tesla investor and former self-proclaimed "Elon fanboy" Leo Koguan said on Twitter that Musk has "abandoned" the company and Tesla needs a new CEO. More recently, Koguan accused Musk earlier this month of intentionally tanking the stock.

Have you invested in Tesla, do you work for the company or have some insight to share? Reach out to the reporter via email at gkay@insider.com, on secure messaging app Signal at 248-894-6012, or through Twitter DM at @graceihle. Reach out using a non-work device.