Tesla Investor Day was short on details for a new, affordable vehicle that will enable the automaker to maintain its rapid growth curve by moving into mainstream segments, disappointing analysts who expected a product presentation.
CEO Elon Musk and Tesla executives spoke on their vision for a global transition to sustainable energy and the need to cut vehicle costs to accelerate EV adoption but left a new-model presentation for another day.
Analysts were hoping to see at least a concept of a $25,000-$30,000 Tesla that could drive sales growth by addressing the mainstream market. The most inexpensive Tesla in the U.S. is the base Model 3 at $44,630 with shipping. Some analysts are informally referring to the coming affordable Tesla as the Model 2.
"Musk's clear path to a sustainable-energy Earth is admirable, but investors may have preferred if Tesla outlined a clear path toward sustainable profits in a high-growth market," said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds.
"The emphasis on cost cutting throughout the company was unsurprising yet encouraging given today's economic conditions, but Musk and company failed to put the cherry on top — an actual look at a lower-priced Tesla, if only just conceptually," Caldwell said.
Tesla's stock was down about 6 percent in afternoon trading Thursday.
Musk and Tesla executives at the Wednesday event did provide broad hints about what's coming in a couple years. Tesla will build its third vehicle platform at a new plant in northern Mexico with a focus on affordability.
"Mexico will build our next-generation vehicle, but we'll also be doing that in our other plants, so it's really about getting the model up and running," said Lars Moravy, vice president of engineering. "We expect a huge volume product and we're going to move that quickly over the next couple years."