Tesla (TSLA) Dips 2% on Reports it is Facing 6-Months Delay in Opening Gigafactory Berlin, 2022 Estimates Should Go 'At Least' 75K Units Lower Says Analyst

May 3, 2021 10:57 AM EDT
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Local reports from Germany over the weekend suggest Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) may be forced to delay the opening of its Gigafactory in Berlin due to obtaining important building permits and environmental approvals for the project.

Originally, Tesla was due to open Giga Berlin in July this year. However, local auto industry paper Automobilwoche says that Tesla is now planning to open its Berlin factory in January 2022.

These reports come a few days after CEO Elon Musk said he still expects Giga Berlin to open in 2021. The factory is extremely important for Tesla as it aims to bring the Model Y to Europe, and launch a new lineup of the electric vehicle using Tesla’s new 4680 battery cell.

“We’re building factories as quickly as we can. Both Texas and Berlin are progressing well, and we expect to have initial limited production from those factories this year and volume production from Texas and Berlin next year.”

Tesla has reportedly notified authorities that it will modify its application for permits, which then means that the public participation process will be required again. This process alone is expected to push back the opening for 2 months.

Moreover, Tesla is facing accusations that workers constructing their Giga Berling factory are paid too low as they earn less than the legally required minimum wage. Moreover, some of them spend 12 to 14 hours per day.

GLJ Research analyst Gordon Johnson believes the Street should lower their 2022 delivery estimates by at least 75k to reflect new developments.

“When considering Giga Berlin was to have capacity of 150K Model Y vehicles, which has now been delayed by six months – this means Consensus estimates for TSLA’s sales in both 2021E and 2022E need to be adjusted lower as Giga Berlin won’t be ramped until around mid-year 2022 (i.e., by ~10-15K in 2021, and ~75K in 2022),” Johnson writes in a note.

The analyst reiterates that this is a “big deal and worthy of an 8-K” as it is a material change to TSLA’s forward guidance.

“We believe TSLA’s shares should be down MATERIALLY on this news as by mid-year 2022, the small electric SUV segment in Europe will be RIFE with competition, including the Audi Q4 e-tron, BMW iX3, Mercedes EQA, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Volkswagen ID.4, Ford Mustang Mach E, Nissan Ariya, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Kia EV6,” the analyst concludes.



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