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Anjani Trivedi

Tesla Gives Panasonic an Electric Shock

The Japanese company's reliance on its U.S. customer is a weakness.
Tesla Model S Test Drive At The Panasonic Center Tokyo
Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Hitching a ride on Tesla Inc. these days seems precarious at best, especially for its sole battery supplier Panasonic Corp.

Shares of the Japanese company plunged as much as 9 percent after a spate of Tesla bad-news stories over the past few weeks. First, the U.S. electric-car maker reported yet another fatal crash, then a shortfall in production targets for its mass-market Model 3 and to top it off, a rating downgrade by Moody's Investors Service on liquidity concerns. The cost to insure Panasonic's five-year debt -- a broad gauge of risk -- has risen sharply.