Tesla Motors (TSLA - Get Report) stock seems impervious to recent reports of delivery misses and car crashes, as it finished fractionally higher Wednesday, closing at $214.44, after slipping in early trading. But some analysts are saying Tesla's issues are deeper than they appear.
The analyst team at Pacific Crest Securities lowered its fair-value estimate for the company's stock to $190 from $212. In a research note Tuesday, it highlighted the second-quarter deliveries miss and slightly lower unit volumes. Tesla reported that deliveries for the April-to-June quarter were 14,370, which was well-short of analysts' estimates of 17,175.
"We continue to believe that the Model 3 appears overly ambitious and fraught with financial risk, which could limit visibility to a stable path to profitability," the analysts said.
Similarly, Barclays analyst Brian Johnson said the delivery miss highlighted two themes: production issues and lagging Model S demand. The latter, he said, is perhaps more concerning. "2Q deliveries were down 21% sequentially and 18% [year to year] ... representing lagging demand for an aging vehicle."
But Johnson had a bigger question: What helps the "cult psychology" stock? He noted that Tesla stock closed Tuesday at $214, "essentially shrugging off the delivery miss as well as the ongoing debate around Autopilot and the (SolarCity (SCTY) ) merger proposal."
A Model 3 vehicle was recently involved in a deadly crash in Williston, Fla. The driver had been using Tesla's semi-autonomous mode when the car failed to automatically activate its brakes and crashed into a tractor-trailer. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating the incident. There are also reports about another Tesla car crash while in the self-driving mode, this time involving a Model X. The driver and his passenger survived.
The Barclays analyst expects the stock to "trade weakly as consensus drifts down off the delivery numbers." But the Pacific Crest analysts went so far as to questioned what Tesla is all about, saying the stock is in the throes of multiple identity crises.
"Is it about the car being awesome? Is it about making the most cars? Is rooftop solar the missing link that electric car buyers have been missing? No one is quite certain -- and neither is the company, in our view."
This article was first published on Real Money at 5:15 p.m. ET on July 6.