Why This Analyst Thinks Tesla Isn’t the Top Pick for Autonomous Vehicles

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The autonomous vehicle (AV) industry now is a main focus of the tech industry. Most of the major players have plans to take some piece of this market, whether it’s building the chips, manufacturing the cars or integrating the road maps.

At the forefront of all these players sits Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), with its Model 3 that features an autopilot mode, which may be the closest there is to an AV on the road right now. Although this is not fully autonomous, it’s impressively close.

It’s no wonder that there is all this hype surrounding Tesla, and if the company continues to innovate as it has in the past, it should have a dominant market share in the future. However, in a surprising report earlier this week one analyst went against the hype and picked someone else above Tesla.

Deutsche Bank tapped General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) as the potential front-runner for the AV industry in the coming year. The investment bank raised GM to a Buy rating from Hold with a $51 price target, implying upside of 29.4% from its most recent closing price at the time of $39.42. Keep in mind that this firm only has a Hold rating for Tesla.

Rod Lache was on the call for Deutsche Bank and he believes that up to 60% of U.S. households in cities might be more inclined to use autonomous vehicle services, as opposed to owning a car. At the same time, he went as far as to say that 2% of U.S. miles driven in 2025 will be through autonomous vehicle services.

The investment bank suggests that GM can grab about 17.5% of the total AV market share.

In the report, Lache said:

GM’s AV’s will be ready for commercial deployment, without human drivers, much sooner than widely expected (within quarters, not years), and potentially years ahead of competitors. We believe that businesses built off of this platform will ramp much faster than is widely expected. A fast ramp could perpetuate sustainable advantages. And we believe that this will be material, even to a company of GM’s size.

Shares of GM were last seen at $40.38, with a consensus analyst price target of $39.52 and a 52-week trading range of $30.21 to $40.69. GM has outperformed the broad markets, with the stock up almost 16% year to date. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock is up more than 25%.

Tesla shares closed out the week at $341.10. The stock has a 52-week range of $178.19 to $389.61 and a consensus price target of $319.94.