Tesla Shows Off Model Y Crossover, Ford Mum on Electrified Mustang

Paul Ausick

At an event Thursday night at the company’s design studio near Los Angeles, Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) unveiled its promised Model Y crossover SUV. The first version to debut will be a long-range (300 miles on a single charge) priced a $47,000 due late next year. The second version, with a range of 230 miles and a sticker price of $39,000 is scheduled to be available in the spring of 2021. A seven-seat version of the cheaper option is also planned. It will cost $42,000.

Tesla put up a web page for preorders after the event. Customers will be required to put down a refundable deposit of $2,500. The Model Y offers a more affordable crossover than the Model X that sells for a base price of $82,000.

High-end electrified SUVs are already available from Audi (the all-electric e-tron priced from $74,800), Mercedes-Benz (the EQC announced last September without pricing information) and Jaguar (the I-PACE priced from $69,500).

Shortly before the Tesla event, Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) posted a tweet:

Some observers expected an announcement of an electrified Mustang to follow Tesla’s announcement, but that did not materialize.

What Ford did announce this morning is a new paint color for its Mustang Shelby GT500. Grabber Lime is an updated version of a color the company offered for its 1971 Mustang. The new color will be available for the 2020 model year.

The new Tesla Model Y is closely modeled on the company’s Model 3 sedan and will be offered in four configurations: the Long and Standard Range versions already described, and a dual-motor all-wheel drive (AWD) version priced at $51,000 and a Performance version available beginning at $60,000. The AWD and Performance versions are also scheduled to be available in 2020.

The new Tesla crossover does not address investor concerns over either Tesla’s relentless cash burn nor demand for its bread-and-butter Model 3. NORD/LB analyst Frank Schwope told Reuters, “It seems to be another distraction tactic presenting a new model and (to) divert from the problems with the other cars, the production and the profitability.”

Analyst Gene Munster of Loup Ventures, a long-time Tesla bull, said that the company is investing heavily this year for Model Y production beginning next year: “If the company was in need of cash, they would not be aggressively investing in expanded production in 2019.” However, Munster continued, Tesla is likely to raise more cash this year, a move he called “negative in the near term, [but one that] would be positive long term.”

Tesla stock traded down about 3.8% Friday morning, at $278.83 in a 52-week range of $244.59 to $387.46. The consensus 12-month price target on the stock is $329.28.