Wedbush analyst Dan Ives released a bullish note on Tesla (TSLA -0.94%) stock on Tuesday morning. In commentary to support his 12-month price target of $1,400 for the company's shares, he said there are several catalysts that could drive the growth stock significantly higher next year. Highlighting just how well the analyst thinks things could go for the company in a best-case scenario, his most bullish case for the stock calls for an enormous 12-month price target of $1,800, representing about 65% upside from where the stock is trading today.
The analyst's optimism for the stock is impressive -- especially considering that the stock is already on a roll. In 2021, Tesla shares have risen a total of 55%. Furthermore, even the analyst's more cautious 12-month price target of $1,400 translates to 28% upside from here.
Here's a look at why the analyst is so upbeat about Tesla shares -- and why he could be onto something.
Major catalysts for Tesla stock
In Ives' note to investors this week, he cited several major catalysts that could drive Tesla shares higher, including sales momentum in China, margin expansion, and new factories coming online.
One of the biggest drivers for Tesla's growth recently has been the China market. In 2020, for instance, revenue from Tesla products (mainly vehicle deliveries) in the important market was approximately $6.7 billion -- more than doubling from about $3.0 billion in 2019 and less than $1.8 billion in 2018.
Highlighting how important the market has become for Tesla, its sales in China accounted for 21% of its total revenue in 2020. In 2021, this percentage should swell even more as Tesla has been ramping up production at its factory in China. Looking to 2022, Ives predicts that deliveries in the market could grow to represent 40% of total deliveries.
Looking beyond China, Ives thinks the electric car company's new factories in Germany and Texas will also drive sharp sales growth. Tesla currently has demand that outstrips supply, and new production capacity from these factories will help alleviate production constraints and help production and sales soar. Specifically, the analyst thinks Tesla's annualized production run rate can increase from about one million units today to two million units by the end of 2022.
Combining economies of scale benefits with the ramp-up of the higher-priced Model S and Model X production and sales since the two vehicles' recent design overhauls, Wedbush also expects the company's gross profit margin profile to improve significantly over the next year to year and a half. Growing sales of higher-priced, higher-margin vehicles could be key to this margin expansion.
Tesla's spectacular business execution could continue
To investors who don't follow Tesla closely, it may seem like a stretch for the company to increase production capacity so significantly over the next year as it capitalizes on its enormous demand. But Tesla has a history of impressive execution -- particularly when it comes to growing its production capacity. Indeed, Tesla's factory in China ramped up production significantly faster than its factory in California did, and management has hinted that production may ramp up even faster at its newest factories in Germany and Texas.
While investors shouldn't count on Tesla stock soaring to $1,800 or $1,400 within the next year, Ives does bring up some good points that make a compelling case for owning this stock over the long haul.