Trailblazer Elon Musk founded Tesla 17 years ago on 1 July 2003. From the beginning, Musk – a South African citizen – consistently maintained that Tesla’s long-term strategic goal was to create affordable mass market electric vehicles. Musk’s vision to essentially transform the world’s automobile industry has led Tesla to become the most valuable automaker in the world by market value, with the company’s market capitalisation now standing at nearly $208 billion, surpassing Toyota. Tesla is regarded more as a tech company than an automaker. Analysts’ forecasts often focus as much on CEO Elon Musk’s promises on future products that might never materialise as they do on the more pedestrian quarterly figures such as delivery and production numbers and revenue. As the demand for electric cars soars, the world is watching with anticipation to see what is next for this front line newbie. – Nadya Swart
Tesla overtakes Toyota as the world’s most valuable automaker
By Reed Stevenson
(Bloomberg) — Tesla Inc. displaced Toyota Motor Corp. as the world’s most valuable automaker, underscoring investor enthusiasm for a company trying to transform an industry that’s relied on internal combustion engines for more than 130 years.
Shares of Tesla, which have more than doubled since the start of the year, climbed as much as 3.5% in intraday trading Wednesday, giving it a market capitalization of $207.2 billion, surpassing Toyota’s $201.9 billion.
Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has ignored or broken many of the established auto industry’s rules and norms in the 10 years since he took Tesla public, selling cars online and assembling vehicles in high-cost California. But while his company’s value has soared, there remains a gulf in the scale of his company and the world’s biggest car manufacturers.
Tesla produced 103,000 vehicles in the first quarter, or about 4% of the almost 2.4 million made by Toyota, which built its brand on affordability and reliability backed by innovations in large-scale manufacturing.
Tesla became the world’s second-most valuable automaker in January, when it surpassed Volkswagen AG. It’s now worth more than twice the German giant.
After pioneering gas-electric vehicles with the Prius hybrid, Toyota was late to shift to fully electric autos and has wagered heavily on hydrogen fuel cells. The company is now making a series of high-profile investments in EVs and self-driving cars. The manufacturer has forecast an 80% plunge in profit this year and expects it could take until the first half of next year before the auto market recovers to pre-pandemic levels.
Toyota’s market valuation includes the 14.3% of shares that Toyota itself holds as treasury stock, worth around $30 billion. Tesla doesn’t hold any treasury shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.