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Why Tesla Shares Dropped Thursday

By Howard Smith – Aug 19, 2021 at 11:22AM

Key Points

  • Tesla's AI Day will be livestreamed beginning at 8 p.m. EDT today.

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Delivery delays and questions about the company's self-driving feature are weighing down the stock.

What happened

Tesla's (TSLA 7.67%) AI Day comes at an interesting time for the company. The livestreamed event will be held at 8 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. PDT) today. It comes shortly after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced an investigation into the electric vehicle maker's self-driving technology after several vehicle crashes. Leading up to the presentation, and after another report today detailed customer frustrations with delivery delays, Tesla stock traded down 2.3% early Thursday. Shares modified that decline, but still were down 1.84% as of 10:50 a.m. EDT. 

So what 

In the wake of the NHTSA probe, two U.S. senators are also now asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Tesla has properly represented the capabilities of its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving technology, reports CNBC.

red Tesla Model Y on open road.

Tesla Model Y. Image source: Tesla.

The financial news channel also reports that many Tesla customers are growing increasingly aggravated over continually pushed back delivery dates. Tesla hasn't commented, but has previously acknowledged production impacts from supply chain issues and the global semiconductor shortage that has affected many automakers. 

Now what

The report interviewed several eager Tesla buyers who were making alternate plans to potentially cancel their orders and purchase competing electric vehicle brands based on the delays and lack of clarity they say they are receiving from the company and its sales representatives. 

With Tesla's stock still based highly on potential and not just on current fundamentals, it isn't surprising to see the stock weighed down on news involving potential customer cancellations and a federal probe into its technologies. It also should bring added interest in what Elon Musk and his team have to say at the AI Day presentation later today. 

Howard Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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