On Thursday, analyst Toni Sacconaghi of AllianceBernstein initiated coverage of Tesla (TSLA) , announcing that he believes the electric carmaker is an industry disruptor along the lines of Amazon (AMZN) , Netflix (NFLX) , and even Apple (AAPL) . However, the company's bears are finding these claims a bit hard to swallow.
"The traditional automotive market is being disrupted, and the source of it is one upstart player - Tesla," Sacconaghi writes. "We have seen this pattern play out before (with AAPL, NFLX, AMZN), where a single company triggers a sea-change in outlook among consumers and, eventually, among traditional incumbents, who further validate the shift."
Sacconaghi has set a price target of $250 on Tesla's stock, which is middle-of-the-road and represents a potential gain of only 2.5% from today's price around $244 per share. That's hardly "disruptive."
However, Sacconaghi predicts that Tesla will gain steam and lead the charge when electric cars carve out a bigger market share. But even if the analysts' electric dreams come true, don't expect big gains from Tesla anytime soon. Sacconaghi's model sees electric vehicles grabbing 50% of the market by 2050. Thirty-three years is quite a while to wait.
True, Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, is a visionary who would certainly like to disrupt the automobile market. But in truth, Tesla is lagging behind the competition. Plenty of other carmakers, as varied as General Motors (GM) and BMW (BAMXF) , are creating efficient electric cars that undercut Tesla's in price.