Taking Stock: Tesla Motors has a great product, but it's a speculative investment

Malcolm Berko: TSLA makes sensational cars, and the reviews have been rave. But this company may not be profitable until September 2021 or March 2022 and may not pay a dividend until 2026.
By Malcolm Berko Published: September 1, 2013

So according to an angry reader in North Carolina, your Republican-controlled state Senate passed a law banning TSLA from selling its cars online.

If TSLA were permitted to sell its cars online, the auto manufacturers could also establish their own online retail networks and sell directly to the public. So if your state allowed TSLA to establish a franchise, it would open the door for GM, Ford, Chrysler and others to create their own sales subsidiaries and sell directly to the consumer. The Big Three automakers flirted with this idea in the 1990s, but a rancorous and strident dealer backlash persuaded them to change their tactics. TSLA's lawyers argue that this is illegal restraint of trade and that it violates interstate commerce laws.

TSLA makes sensational cars, and the reviews have been rave. The Model S fully charges in less than 25 minutes and goes from zero to 60 in 4.2 seconds, and its 85-kilowatt-hour battery has a range of more than 260 miles. But this company may not be “honestly” profitable until September 2021 or March 2022 and may not pay a dividend until 2026. Therefore, you might have to wait 13 years before you would reinvest any dividends. Frankly, I think anyone who buys this stock has to be addled and wacky to pay $168 a share for a company that has no earnings and produces $70,000 to $125,000 cars that many banks won't finance. TSLA is not an investment; it's a speculation. But the cars are dynamite.

Please address your financial questions to Malcolm Berko, P.O. Box 8303, Largo, FL 33775, or email him at mjberko@yahoo.com.