Tesla has toppled two American auto icons

Tesla is now bigger than Ford, GM ever were

Tesla just toppled an American icon to become the biggest U.S. automaker in history.

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The electric-vehicle maker’s market capitalization zoomed past Ford’s 1999 peak. It was already bigger than General Motors’ both pre- and post-bankruptcy.

Tesla is a “disruptive technology company,” Wedbush Managing Director Dan Ives told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney. “Anyone that defines it as an auto company, in my opinion, is wrong.”

Tesla’s market capitalization finished Monday at $81.4 billion, edging out Ford’s peak market value of $80.8 billion, according to Dow Jones Market Data Group. General Motors topped out at $66.86 billion in October 2017, the data showed. Sales volume in 2019 was a different story as Tesla sold 195,120 vehicles while Ford and GM sold 2.4 million and 2.87 million vehicles, respectively, according to goodcarbadcar.net.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
TSLATESLA INC.594.58+1.20+0.20%
FFORD MOTOR COMPANY9.38+0.18+1.96%
GMGENERAL MOTORS COMPANY44.34+0.28+0.64%

Investors have developed an admiration for Tesla, which has taken a commanding 75 percent to 85 percent share of the U.S. electric-vehicle market, according to CleanTechnica.

The automaker which already has a plant in Shanghai also announced last November plans for its first European factory in Berlin. Tesla hopes the plants help cement a foothold in the global EV market, which is expected to swell from 4 million units in 2019 to 21 million units by 2030, according to a study from Deloitte.

Tesla shares have had a red-hot start to 2020, gaining almost 10 percent in the first week of the year. The rally comes as the first Model 3 sedans rolled off the assembly line at the company’s China factory on Tuesday and after a record number of deliveries in the fourth-quarter.

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Tesla delivered 112,000 vehicles during the final three months of the year. Its 367,500 shipments for the full year exceeded the lower end of Musk’s projection of 360,000 to 400,000.

The gains continue to put tremendous pressure on short-sellers, or those betting shares will fall. Those investors were already licking their wounds from last year’s 25.7 percent rally in Tesla shares, which inflicted them with a loss of more than $3.3 billion, according to data from the financial-analytics firm S3 Partners. Tesla’s surprise third-quarter profit fueled a year-end rally of more than 64 percent.

Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv are bearish on Tesla with a 12-month price target of $310 a share, or 32.7 percent below where they are currently trading. Of the 33 analysts surveyed, 11 say “buy,” nine suggest “hold” and 13 recommend “sell.”

Tesla is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter results on Jan. 29. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv are expecting a $272 million profit, or adjusted earnings of $1.58 a share, on revenue of $6.95 billion.

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