Owners are devoted to the EV pioneer like few other car owners are loyal to any other automotive brand. That loyalty is on display at a unique Texas event this week, but it isn’t the
gathering investors would expect.
Tesla (ticker: TSLA) christened its new Gigafactory in Austin, Texas on Thursday, April 7. The event offered plant tours, a party, and a speech by CEO Elon Musk. I have covered mainly old ground in his comments from him, focusing on the capacity ramp-up in 2022. Tesla is expected to produce about 1.4 million to 1.5 million vehicles this year, up from more than 930,000 delivered in 2021.
(The party was dubbed the Cyber Rodeo because the Austin plant will eventually build Tesla’s Cybertruck.)
The new plant is a big deal for the company and the stock. More production means more cars and more growth. The factory, in its initial configuration, will have the capacity to make roughly 500,000 vehicles annually.
But there is another event happening in Austin that is also a big deal for the stock, even though the impact isn’t as direct as a new manufacturing facility: Tesla-Con.
Tesla-Con Texas is a convention for Tesla devotees. Investors can think of it like Comic-Con for superhero fans or New York City’s SantaCon for, well, Christmas merrymakers. (The organizers of Tesla-Con, however, note on the event website that the convention isn’t sponsored by Tesla, nor is it part of Cyber Rodeo.)
The five-day convention includes a series of meetups and events, including speakers at the main event on Friday afternoon. Speakers are likely to include automotive and investment personalities who are familiar to Tesla investors, such as Sandy Munro and Ross Gerber. Speakers will likely review what they saw inside the Austin facility. Not everyone who wanted to go—including Barron’s—could get in. We would have loved to see the huge presses that die-cast parts of the auto body frame. Musk says the frame of a vehicle built in Austin is composed of three parts: a die-cast rear and a die-cast front as well as a battery pack that is part of the vehicle’s structure. Eliminating parts and welds is supposed to reduce parts and cost.
The Tesla Owners Club of Austin is behind the event, and will also try to set a record for the most Tesla vehicles assembled in one place. Barron’s isn’t sure what the existing record is—one isn’t listed in the Guinness Book of Records that we could find. The Owners Club didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
While these various Tesla-focused events might not mean much for near-term stock performance, they do demonstrate that Tesla drivers, for the most part, love their cars.
Tesla ranks as the No. 1 automotive brand on business information provider comparably.com. And it sits in the top spot on Consumer Reports’ list of best-liked car brands.
Tesla also has one of the highest net promoter scores of any car brand listed on customer satisfaction tracker Consumer Guru. A net promoter score is, essentially, a numerical representation of how likely a customer is to recommend a product. It ranges from -100 to 100. A net promoter score in the mid-40s is average. Tesla has a score of 97, according to customer retention firm Customer Gauge.
Fervent customer devotion ultimately saves Tesla on advertising. It also brings customers back to the brand when they need a new car. In the long run, it might mean that Tesla’s EV market share is stickier. Those are the kinds of things Tesla investors can think about when they are looking at this week’s pictures from Tesla-Con—whether it notches the world record or not.
Growth stocks like Tesla certainly could use any kind of boost this week. Rising bond yields have dragged down high-valuation, high-growth stocks—higher interest rates reduce the current value of these companies’ future profits. The yield on the US 10-year Treasury note hit 2.69% on Friday, compared with 2.4% at the start of the month.
Tesla stock fell 2.2% on Friday to $1,033.67. the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
are up 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively.
Maybe Tesla-Con can give shares a boost later in the day.
Write to Al Root at firstname.lastname@example.org