Priced at $35,000 before incentives—half the cost of Tesla’s Model S and Model X—the Model 3 is meant to go up against the likes of the BMW 3 Series and other gas-powered entry-level luxury vehicles from Volkswagen‘s Audi and Daimler‘s Mercedes-Benz.
Hopes for Tesla’s ability to build and sell a sizable number of Model 3s have helped push up Tesla’s market capitalization to five times the California startup’s annual revenue. How well the Model 3 does—along with whether Tesla can build it on time (starting in late 2017) and get battery costs low enough to make the car profitable—are key issues that investors will be watching.
Analysts on the whole are mildly positive on Tesla. Of 21 tracked by Thomson Reuters, five call it a strong buy, four a buy, and six rate it at hold or underperform.
TSLA was recommended in Cabot Stock of the Month in December 2011 at 29. Shares closed Thursday at 228.