May 21 (Reuters) - Shares in Tesla Inc jumped more than 4 percent on Monday as investors were encouraged by the company’s placing a $78,000 price tag on the fully-loaded version of its Model 3 sedan.
Separately, research firm Berenberg raised its price target for Tesla shares to $500 from $470, saying the company’s margin targets for the car were now reality and not just a hope.
Berenberg’s earlier forecast was already the most bullish on Wall Street and compares to the company’s current stock market price of $288, which is down around $100 dollars from last September’s peak.
Chief Executive Elon Musk said in tweets at the weekend that Tesla would focus initially on delivering the fully-loaded Model 3s, which come with a full range of bells and whistles but not its vaunted autopilot feature.
“Cost of all options, wheels, paint, etc is included (apart from Autopilot). Cost is $78k. About same as BMW M3, but 15 percent quicker & with better handling. Will beat anything in its class on the track,” Musk tweeted.
A BMW M3 starts at $66,500 while Tesla’s own Model S starts at $74,500.
Analysts say Tesla’s future growth hinges on the success of the Model 3, its most affordable vehicle to date at a base price of $35,000. The company has so far struggled to ramp up production and failed to reach a series of weekly production targets.
Musk, whose refusal to answer questions from some analysts in a call earlier this month prompted a fall in shares, said that Tesla had to focus on delivering higher-priced Model 3s first, or it would “die”.
The company, which is undergoing a “thorough reorganization” to contend with production problems, senior staff departures and recent crashes involving its electric cars, is striving to reach a production rate of 5,000 cars per week.
“With production, 1st you need achieve target rate & then smooth out flow to achieve target cost. Shipping min cost Model 3 right away wd cause Tesla to lose money & die. Need 3 to 6 months after 5k/wk to ship $35k Tesla & live,” Musk said.
On Friday, proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) backed a shareholder proposal to separate Musk’s current chairman and CEO roles, suggesting that shareholders would be better served by having Musk focus on running the company. .
The recommendation by ISS echoed one made earlier last week by rival proxy adviser Glass Lewis & Co. (Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)