A short-seller who took on Wirecard is betting against Tesla, saying its price is out of whack with Toyota and VW

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SpaceX founder Elon Musk addresses members of the media during a press conference announcing new developments of the Crew Dragon reusable spacecraft, at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California on October 10, 2019.
Tesla boss Elon Musk has previously said short selling short be illegal.

  • Short-seller Fraser Perring, who bet against Wirecard, said he’s taking a position against Tesla again.
  • He tweeted the electric-car maker’s valuation seems out of kilter with those for Toyota and Volkswagen.
  • Tesla has been the scourge of short sellers, however, as its stock has soared in recent years.

A short-seller who was an early critic of Germany payments company Wirecard has revealed he’s betting against Tesla again, saying the electric-car maker’s valuation is out of kilter with the rest of the market.

Fraser Perring, the founder of Viceroy Research, tweeted Wednesday: “Are Toyota and VW undervalued or is Tesla overpriced? Tesla’s quality and [full self-driving technology] will be measured by the consumers. I’m short again.”

Perring’s announcement comes after Tesla stock soared 13.5% Monday, the first day of trading in 2022, on the back of strong fourth-quarter delivery figures. Short selling is when investors borrow and sell stock in the hope that its price will go down.

Tesla has since given up some gains to trade at around $1,163 on Wednesday. Its price is up more than 50% over the last year, and more than 2,400% over the last five years.

The Elon Musk-led company is now by far the most valuable carmaker in the world, despite being far behind others in terms of profits and production.

Its market capitalization of more than $1.1 trillion far outstrips the next most valuable carmakers, Toyota and Volkswagen, which are worth around $280 billion and $140 billion respectively.

Read more: A Goldman Sachs equity portfolios head who’s bearish on electric-car makers warns growth will be ‘subdued’ in many parts of the market in 2022 — but says there are 5 key trends you should be targeting

Yet Toyota and Volkswagen make much more money and sell many more cars. Toyota and VW both shifted around 2 million units in their latest confirmed quarter, according to Bloomberg data, compared with Tesla’s delivery of 309,000 cars.

Perring is known for being behind a 2016 note that attacked Wirecard over its company controls and oversight. The German payments company collapsed in 2020 after admitting it had fabricated assets.

Tesla is a notoriously tough target. Carson Block of Muddy Waters dropped his Tesla short in the middle of last year after a high-profile campaign, conceding defeat to what he called “dumb money.”

Musk has personally hit out at short-sellers in the past. He has previously said the activity should be illegal.