Elon Musk is the “enemy” at Tesla, warns top analyst

  • Jeffries analyst Philippe Houchois warned that Elon Musk poses a risk to Tesla on Thursday.
  • Houchois called Musk “the enemy” inside Tesla, in an interview with Yahoo Finance.
  • He is one of several analysts and investors expressing concern about Musk’s focus on Twitter.

Elon Musk has become a liability for Tesla, Jeffries analyst Philippe Houchois warned Thursday.

“We’ve published research many times in the past where we say the enemy is inside Tesla,” Houchois said in an interview with Yahoo Finance after the automaker’s earnings call. “Musk is an incredible driver, but he’s also the one who brings unnecessary risk, in a sense, to the situation.”

In the interview, Houchois pointed to concerns over Musk’s preoccupation with running Twitter. Although he added that Tesla’s price cut in January has helped make the automaker more attractive.

“The issue with Elon Musk is, as an individual, he does a lot of things, maybe too many things,” the analyst said. “He has to correct himself. So he’s going to decide, can I do SpaceX, Tesla, Twitter?”

Despite his skepticism about Musk, Houchois is generally bullish on the stock and demand for electric cars, calling the product “still very attractive.”

“I think as consumers, yes, you can have reservations about all kinds of things, but you want to see as a consumer, ‘Is this a product that fits my needs? Is it affordable?'” Houchois said. “And right now we’ll see how the rest of the industry reacts to what Tesla has done. But right now it’s a very, very good value proposition.”

Musk and a Tesla spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment from Insider before publication.

Since Tesla’s earnings report on Wednesday, the automaker’s stock has risen nearly 20%. Insider’s Nora Naughton reported that the billionaire reassured Tesla investors during the call, presenting fourth-quarter results that beat analysts’ expectations and a detailed plan for the year ahead.

Nevertheless, the Tesla boss still found time to make several comments about Twitter during the meeting.

At one point, he bragged about his popularity on the site in response to a question about whether Tesla was tracking how its favorability had waned in recent months. Last month, British research firm YouGov published the results of a survey indicating that Tesla’s approval rating had fallen rapidly into negative territory over the past year.

Houchois is one of several Wall Street analysts expressing concern about the impact Musk’s preoccupation with Twitter is having on Tesla.

Some Tesla investors have also been critical of Musk as Tesla shares have plunged more than 20% since the Tesla boss took Twitter private in late October. Last month, Tesla investor and former self-proclaimed “Elon fanboy” Leo Koguan said on Twitter that Musk has “left” the company and Tesla needs a new CEO. Recently, Koguan accused Musk earlier this month of deliberately tanking the stock.

Have you invested in Tesla, work for the company or have some insight to share? Contact the reporter via email at [email protected], on the secure messaging app Signal at 248-894-6012, or via Twitter DM at @graceihle. Reach out with a device that doesn’t work.

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