12 Months Post-Musk Warning: Still Safe to Short Tesla?

source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdlasica/

It was only last week that we learned Tesla Motors’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO and founder Elon Musk was planning on embarking on a 6-day cross country roadtrip with his five sons to prove that the automaker’s iconic Model S could make the 32,000-mile journey easily and successfully, thanks to the company’s growing network of Supercharger stations. Critics have long maintained that EV travel is not only expensive, but also inconvenient and dangerous, and the South African native is now more than happy to prove his naysayers wrong by taking on the trip himself.

Fox Business was lucky enough to catch Musk before he began his journey Thursday, and as he sat at one his Supercharger stations in Hawthorne, California, the CEO had many interesting things to report.

Musk, as always, continues to remain adamant about the fact that Model S sedans are for Americans everywhere, not just those on the West and East coasts, especially in New York and LA. His Supercharger stations are popping up across the country, and although there is a conspicuous gap of them in the nation’s Midwest — as Fox Business’s Liz Claman quickly points out — Musk maintains that that soon is about to change. The CEO sees his 6-day roadtrip as a way to appeal to those Midwesterns who incorrectly assume a Model S is not the car for them, and he hopes to meet many people on what he calls his “whistle stop tour.”

 

When offering arguments that support his Model S argument, Musk reminds consumers that his car was not only designed in the U.S., it was also manufactured here. Thus, buying into the car is likewise buying into the resurrection of the U.S. auto industry.

Musk also, unsurprisingly, cites the many awards the Model S has received as of late, including the National Highway Traffic Safety and Administration’s top safety rating in all categories, therefore making a point to remind drivers how rare it is to find a car that is not only made in America and fuel efficient — but also off-the-charts safe.

These are still all things we’ve already heard from Musk, either in interviews, reports, or via Twitter. What especially stuck out in Musk’s conversation with Fox’s Claman, however, was his warning to skeptics who continue to bet against Musk and his company, keeping the short interest on the stock very high. This September now marks 12 months since the CEO offered his notorious caution in 2012, “I think it’s very unwise to be shorting Tesla. There’s a tsunami of hurt for those holding a short position. It’s going to be very unpleasant. I advise people to exit while there is still time,” and for the most part, Musk stood by that claim in his interview on Thursday.

Since that fateful day when Musk voiced his warning, Market Watch highlights that Tesla’s stock has rallied nearly 500 percent and doesn’t appear to be curbing anytime soon. There are still short bets on 27 percent of the Fremont, California-based company’s shares, but that figure has come down significantly and Musk remains confident in his automaker’s future.

Though the CEO offered a slightly less scathing message Thursday asserting, “Our valuation right now is assuming a lot of good execution. In the past, I said it’s really crazy to short Tesla. Is it so crazy to short Tesla right now? I mean, it’s not as crazy, but I still think it’s probably not a good idea.” Investors are quickly learning that betting against Musk isn’t as appealing of an idea as it once was.

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