This story has been updated with additional information.
Bigger is not always better. Of course, that adage can be balanced out with fact is stranger than fiction, especially when it comes to stock valuations.
Tesla’s been confounding experts in a variety of arenas since its inception, and now with the current record spike in its stock price after its Q1 sales announcement, its making auto analysts shake their heads.
The Palo Alto, California-based EV maker has a current value of about $48.2 billion. Pretty impressive but all the more so when you compare it to Ford’s current total of about $45.1 billion. The bump came when the EV maker stock jumped about 5% on news that it delivered 25,000 vehicles in the first quarter this year.
(Ford takes lead in race for autonomous vehicles. Click Here for the story.)
Perhaps just as importantly, half those deliveries were the formerly problem-plagued Model X. The report was a sign to some investors that the automaker is likely going to be able to handle adding its mainstream vehicle, the Model 3, to the production line later this year without too many disruptions.
The spike put Musk in a good enough mood to poke fun at the short sell crowd in a tweet, saying “Stormy weather in Shortville.”
In spite of the positive news, Efraim Levy, CFRA analyst and a long-time support of the “sell” position on Tesla, remained unshaken in his opinion about the EV maker.
“Despite a track record of often missing performance target deadlines, this pace should put TSLA on schedule to meet its guidance of more than 47,000 vehicle deliveries for the ’17 first half,” said Levy in a note reiterating his “Sell” recommendation. “Smoothness with legacy vehicles will likely allow more focus on a successful launch of the critical Model 3 vehicle later this year. Still, TSLA’s rich valuation concerns us.”
Investors and analysts alike have been nervous about the prospect the integration of the company’s volume sedan into its manufacturing schedule. Currently the company claims it will build 80,000 vehicles this year. It delivered just under 41,000 in 2016.
By comparison, Ford built more than 6.7 million vehicles worldwide in 2016 and has been around for 100 years. The absurdity of “value” of the two companies wasn’t lost on every one. AutoPacific analyst Dave Sullivan, told Bloomberg, which computed the numbers that Tesla surpassing Ford “does not compute.”
(Click Here for details about Tesla’s Q1 production record.)
“It’s mind-boggling that a company that has the global breadth and depth that Ford has is suddenly valued at less than or equal to Tesla,” Sullivan said.
Clearly the idea is that Tesla is going to make good on its promise of delivering 500,000 vehicles by the end of the year. However, Tesla is often given a little more rope than is more conventional competitors so even if it falls short of that promise, a strong number will like keep its stock price high.
However, the competition is coming. The Chevy Bolt is already on the market and an upgraded Nissan Leaf will be coming not long from now. And the aforementioned Ford, well, it’s looking to bring a slew of battery-electrics to the market.
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Ford is spending more than $4 billion to make that happen, with the first of its vehicles hitting roads in the U.S. in 2020.