If pressed, Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk might tell you he thinks that his California-based EV maker is every bit the company that General Motors and Ford are, and after a bump in the company’s stock price in early afternoon trading, he’s technically correct.
For the first time, Tesla’s market value of $88.2 billion surpassed the combined market cap of Detroit automakers GM and Ford at $49.4 billion and $36.6 billion, respectively.
The EV maker’s stock has been on the rise in recent months after a run of positive news, buoying the spirits of shareholders. The company turned an unexpected profit for the third quarter of last year – the fourth-quarter and full-year results won’t be available for a few weeks yet – and set a new sales record for the calendar year.
Additionally, Musk rolled out the Cybertruck that in spite of or because of its unorthodox styling secured more than 200,000 pre-orders in the two weeks following its debut. Additionally, the company began delivering its Model 3 sedans to consumers in China, made at its new plant in Shanghai, less than a year after construction began on the plant.
In short, it was a banner second half of 2019 and early 2020 shows no sign of that upward trend abating. The company’s stock has been on the rise since late August when it was just more than $211 per share.
However, it’s really taken off since late October where it was just under $255 a share. Since then it’s nearly doubled, finishing today at a little over $492 per share.
The EV maker hasn’t always enjoyed such smooth sailing. Musk is famous, or infamous, for setting deadlines and then missing them by a wide margin. He’s taken to joking about the issue, more recently reminding assembled media that he eventually gets things done.
Of course, the company’s been involved in an ongoing battle about its Autopilot semi-autonomous driving feature. Critics claim the name instills a false sense of security, pointing to a number of crashes involving vehicles allegedly using Autopilot. Musk has repeatedly defended not only the technology but consumer’s perception of it.
That and other issues have resulted in the analyst community not being entirely positive about the company. In fact, more analysts rate Tesla “sell” than “buy,” which is extremely unusual for companies on Wall Street. Eleven analysts recommend buying Tesla shares, while 13 recommend selling and another nine are neutral, according to Refinitiv data.
Shares of GM remained flat during the past year, while Ford has risen 10%, both drastically underperforming the broader market, with a slump in China car sales hurting investor sentiment in both of those companies, Reuters reported.