Tesla Bull Ross Gerber Spars With Bear Gordon Johnson About Future Of EV Giant — And BYD's Entry Into America

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Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) enthusiast Ross Gerber and skeptic Gordon Johnson took center stage on CNBC’s ‘Last Call’ show, presenting conflicting perspectives on the electric vehicle (EV) giant. The analysts also engaged in a heated debate over whether Chinese automakers, notably BYD Co Ltd (OTCPK: BYDDY), should have entry into the U.S. market, positioning themselves at opposing ends of the discussion.

What Happened: "I think BYD is an enormously successful company and probably one of the best companies in China … but it doesn't make it a threat to Tesla," Gerber, President and CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management, said.

According to Gerber, the two companies are not a threat to one another but instead face a common enemy in combustion engine vehicle manufacturers including Ford, BMW, and Volkswagen.

“I look at them as very complementary companies. They're very similar in a lot of ways and they both are excellent companies," Gerber said about the American EV giant and its Chinese counterpart.

GLJ Research CEO Johnson disagreed. "What's happening is the consumer… is moving away from Tesla,” the Tesla bear said while adding that Tesla’s vehicles are unreliable and unsafe.

Bull Vs Bear On Chinese Rivals: The two analysts differ not only on Tesla but also on Chinese EV makers. While Gerber thinks that BYD must be let into the American market and allowed to compete in the spirit of capitalism, Johnson believes they must not be.

According to Gerber, the biggest challenge for BYD if or when it enters the U.S. market would be that American consumers are unwilling to buy a Chinese-made vehicle.

Johnson, however, believes that allowing Chinese EV makers who have access to cheaper labor and energy in China access to the American market would be unfair to the automakers at home and not a level playing field.

Meanwhile, the competition between BYD and Tesla is intensifying as the year nears close. Wall Street believes BYD will take over Tesla as the world’s top-selling pure electric vehicle maker in the fourth quarter.

In the last quarter, BYD shipped approximately 432,000 BEVs, just shy of Tesla's 435,000 units.

Check out more of Benzinga’s Future Of Mobility coverage by following this link.

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