The man who predicted Enron’s fall sees a similar path for Tesla.
Famed Tesla Inc short-seller and founder of Kynikos Associates Jim Chanos is doubling down on his prediction that Tesla stock is a ticking time bomb. In a new interview this week with Bloomberg, Chanos said Tesla will be the “poster child” of the next bear market for U.S. stocks.
Chanos once earned the respect of Wall Street by predicting and profiting from the downfall of Enron Corp. Chanos now says the outflow of Tesla management this year is reminiscent of the environment at Enron prior to its collapse.
Chanos has been short Tesla stock for over a year and has lost money on the position up to this point. Tesla stock is up more than 70 percent in the past 12 months.
Despite holding a losing position, Chanos said he plans to maintain his short bet at least until Tasla can prove it can turn a profit. Tesla is currently burning through more than $1 billion of cash per quarter as it ramps up production of its Model 3 vehicle.
“Three years ago, this company was supposed to be making money now, and now it’s supposed to be making money by 2020,” Chanos said. “I’m guessing by 2019, we’ll hear about 2025.”
According to Chanos, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whom many Tesla investors adore for his innovative vision, is the primary reason Tesla’s stock price is so high. In November, Chanos said Musk will likely choose to step down as Tesla CEO by 2020 to focus on his true passion of space exploration as CEO of SpaceX.
For now, Chanos said investors who believe Tesla is winning the autonomous vehicle technology race are misguided. Legacy auto giants, including General Motors Co. (GM) and Ford Motor Co. (F), are simply in another league in terms of resources.
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“Detroit and Germany are spending billions of dollars on this,” Chanos said. “Tesla is not a leader.”
In September, Deutsche Bank analyst Rod Lache said investors might be surprised to know that GM is winning the autonomous vehicle technology race in the U.S.
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