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Tesla's fancy new Model S will cost $10,000 more — here's what it means for profits

Brian Sozzi
·Editor-at-Large
·3 min read
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Tesla’s (TSLA) snazzy new Model S will have a revamped exterior and interior, and a much larger price tag that could help pad the electric car maker’s bottom line this year.

The company took the wraps off the first redesign since 2012 of the aging Model S during its earnings call Wednesday night. As Yahoo Finance sister publication Autoblog wrote, the Model S has a redesigned interior touchscreen (below) that mirrors the Model 3’s. It also boasts a “yoke-style” steering wheel, which ultimately may not make it into production given its impracticality. As for exterior, the Model S won’t see sweeping changes, just light upgrades to the front-end and rear to make the appearance a bit angrier.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told analysts on the conference call the car will cost $10,000 more than the outgoing version of the Model S.

“Hopefully, people aren't too upset if they bought the old model last month, but this one is $10,000 more,” Musk said. “Yes, we think it’s probably the best car of any kind at any price available in the world today.”

Musk added he thinks Tesla is worth $1 trillion or more (current market cap: $800 billion), no doubt helped by sales of a new Model S.

The interior of the new Model S.
The interior of the new Model S.

Analysts think the upgrades to the Model S base edition and its $10,000 price increase — and new high performance ‘Plaid’ variants — could help bump up Tesla’s earnings this year as people place orders. The car is available for order now on Tesla’s website.

“It [new Model S] is just an addition to margin at this point. It is relatively small volume of total vehicles for them. And in our model it is just a little bit below 5%. So Tesla is adding a little bit of gross margin on that. I think it’s a little bit of a tailwind,” said Tesla bull Colin Rusch at Oppenheimer.

Tesla produced 54,805 Model S and Model X vehicles in 2020, compared to 454,932 newer Model X and Model Y.

Despite the hype around the Model S, Tesla shares fell 3% in Thursday’s session after the company’s fourth quarter earnings missed analyst forecasts. Tesla also failed to provide 2021 delivery guidance, which is always a closely watched metric on the company.

“Bulls wanted more around 2021unit guidance (whisper numbers have moved up towards 800k vs. implied guidance in the 750k+) and given the parabolic run in shares we could see some modest weakness this morning in shares as the Street digests results/guidance,” said Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, who maintained his Neutral rating and $950 12-month price target on Tesla’s stock.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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