There's been a lot of information for investors to process from General Motors (GM) this week.
First, on Thursday, GM's management talked about its plans in autonomous driving. Wall Street wasn't convinced by GM's rather optimistic outlook, as shares stalled near flat for the day. On Friday, though, GM's stock fell further after the company announced worse-than-expected sales results for November.
Who lets one month of sales figures -- particularly given how well General Motors has been doing on its quarterly results -- stop him or her from feeling good about GM's longer-term picture. Particularly when its average transaction price for the month was $37,000, up $1,400 year-over-year and a new record high.
Specifically, though, GM's take on autonomous driving and fleet taxi services have some pretty compelling talking points. Barclays analyst Brian Johnson agrees. While he maintained his overweight rating, Johnson bumped his price target to $57 from $55. It's just shy of the Street-high $60 price target Citigroup has on the stock.
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Johnson argues that while many on Wall Street "view GM's target of commercially launching at scale autonomous ridesharing in dense urban environments in 2019 as an unrealistic target," management has made it seem possible.
What exactly is GM's plan? Currently, a bulk of General Motors' revenue is obtained when it sells a car -- an obvious observation. But under the ride-sharing program, General Motors would continually collect revenue from its vehicle, as it would essentially become a business -- a taxi business. Management says the vehicle could generate hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As we just highlighted, GM's transaction price for last month was $37,000. Even if the ride-sharing program "only" delivered $100,000 to GM, that's almost triple the car's current return.
Johnson points out that Tesla (TSLA) has used similar timetables in pushing out its ride-sharing programs as well. In GM's case, the company's technology is legitimate and the automaker has a "fail-safe with the autonomous vehicles to be monitored by humans at control centers," he reasoned.
Ultimately, Johnson makes the case that GM has first-move advantage and says the stock is due for a valuation re-rating.
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