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Model 3 price hype helps Tesla shares bounce

Model 3 price hype helps Tesla shares bounce
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(Reuters) – Shares in Tesla Inc <TSLA.O> jumped more than 4 percent on Monday as investors were encouraged by the company’s placing a $78,000 (58,104 pounds) price tag on the fully-loaded version of its Model 3 sedan.

Separately, research firm Berenberg raised its price target for Tesla shares to $500 from $470, saying the company’s margin targets for the car were now reality and not just a hope.

Berenberg’s earlier forecast was already the most bullish on Wall Street and compares to the company’s current stock market price of $288, which is down around $100 dollars from last September’s peak.

Chief Executive Elon Musk said in tweets at the weekend that Tesla would focus initially on delivering the fully-loaded Model 3s, which come with a full range of bells and whistles but not its vaunted autopilot feature.

“Cost of all options, wheels, paint, etc is included (apart from Autopilot). Cost is $78k. About same as BMW M3, but 15 percent quicker & with better handling. Will beat anything in its class on the track,” Musk tweeted.

A BMW M3 starts at $66,500 while Tesla’s own Model S starts at $74,500.

Analysts say Tesla’s future growth hinges on the success of the Model 3, its most affordable vehicle to date at a base price of $35,000. The company has so far struggled to ramp up production and failed to reach a series of weekly production targets.

Musk, whose refusal to answer questions from some analysts in a call earlier this month prompted a fall in shares, said that Tesla had to focus on delivering higher-priced Model 3s first, or it would “die”.

The company, which is undergoing a “thorough reorganization” to contend with production problems, senior staff departures and recent crashes involving its electric cars, is striving to reach a production rate of 5,000 cars per week.

“With production, 1st you need achieve target rate & then smooth out flow to achieve target cost. Shipping min cost Model 3 right away wd cause Tesla to lose money & die. Need 3 to 6 months after 5k/wk to ship $35k Tesla & live,” Musk said.

On Friday, proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) backed a shareholder proposal to separate Musk’s current chairman and CEO roles, suggesting that shareholders would be better served by having Musk focus on running the company..

The recommendation by ISS echoed one made earlier last week by rival proxy adviser Glass Lewis & Co.

(Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)

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