Society for Case Research MBAA 2023

Experience level: 
Benjamin C. Anderson, Danielle Lazerson, Marco Pagani

Carvana: A Stock Market Lemon or a Peach?

In August, 2021 Carvana was trading at an all-time peak of $360 per share. Carvana had recently been named one of the youngest companies ever to be named to the Fortune 500 list and was widely praised for its innovative approach to used car sales (McElroy, 2021). By the end of 2022, the stock was trading in the single digits, amounting to losses of over 95% for investors who bought the stock at or near its peak. Unprecedented increases in interest rates by the Federal Reserve over 2022 had resulted in the company’s leverage becoming unaffordable and drying up the market for used cars. The lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic also made adding new cars increasingly unaffordable. Nonetheless, the company’s core business model remained the most innovative in the industry. At the start of 2023, the question was now: is Carvana a stock market lemon or a peach?