Business In Gear

In market value, Tesla now rivals the 'Big Three' US automakers

The wisdom of the market appears to believe that Tesla is now a competitor to General Motors and Ford, and well ahead of Fiat Chrysler.

Visitors watch a Tesla 90D electric car at the Motor Show 2016 in Essen, Germany, Nov. 25, 2016.
Martin Meissner/AP | Caption

Tesla Motors has spent more than 10 years beating the odds for startup automakers.

Most new, independent makers barely survive long enough to produce a handful of vehicles, let alone sell more than 100,000 and garner praise from both customers and the media—as the electric-car startup has done.

Now the Silicon Valley automaker can claim another distinction no other company in its position has likely ever won.

In market value, Tesla Motors now rivals the Detroit Three US automakers.

That news was reported by the Bloomberg news service last week, which noted that the sudden increase in Tesla stock value has some Wall Street analysts concerned.

After an $18 billion stock run, Tesla's market capitalization stood at $39.8 billion at the time of publication.

That's compared to $49.5 billion for Ford, $55.3 billion for General Motors ... and $18.8 billion for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Green Car Reports does not cover financial analysis or stock trading, so these statistics are reported based purely on stock prices at the opening of the global markets this morning.

Tesla stock has risen 48 percent in three months, bringing it to the current valuation, which has led some financial analysts to question whether the stock can retain its value long term.

The median forecasts of Tesla stock prices over the next 12 months from 14 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was $48 lower than Tesla's stock price last week.

According to the news service, that's the most pessimistic prediction from Wall Street since Tesla became a publicly-traded company seven years ago.

That aggregate view may not be surprising when comparing a company that delivered around 80,000 cars last year to three that regularly sell several million, and have existed in various forms for more than a century.

The outsize valuation is often a source of bafflement to industry analysts, who generally expect companies valued in the billions for years at a time to show some sign of profits.

But much of the faith in Tesla is based not on what the company has done, but what its more optimistic supporters believe it will do in the future.

Tesla said last week that it would deliver its first Model 3 electric cars in July, and ramp up production to deliveries of 5,000 cars a week by the end of this year.

The mass-market $35,000, 215-mile Model 3 is vital to meeting CEO Elon Musk's goal of selling 500,000 electric cars annually by next year.

Tesla has missed every one of its initial new-car launch deadlines so far, with quality glitches in each of the three models it's launched thus far.

It's fair to say that skepticism is rife that the company can go from a pace of 80,000 cars a year to half a million in just two years.

Nonetheless, the wisdom of the market appears to believe that Tesla is now a competitor for General Motors and Ford ... and well ahead of Fiat Chrysler, which faces numerous challenges of its own.

This story originally appeared on GreenCarReports.

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