Tesla Is Now the Most Valuable U.S. Car Maker of All Time

Date: January 13, 2020
Source: Wall Street Journal

Tesla Inc. TSLA +5.22 percent shares have surged to start 2020, helping the electric-car maker become the most valuable U.S. auto maker ever.

The company closed Monday with a market value of $81.39 billion, surpassing Ford Motor Co. ’s peak of $80.81 billion set in 1999. Tesla shares continued climbing Tuesday, rising $17.52, or 3.9 percent, to $469.06 and extending their gains for the year to 12 percent.

Tesla was already valued at more than the record market cap of General Motors Co., prebankruptcy or in its current form, and that of pre-Daimler Chrysler or Fiat Chrysler, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Tesla’s market value still trails Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG , which were valued at $231.76 billion and $98.05 billion, respectively, at Tuesday’s close. Tesla’s market value at the close of trading was $84.55 billion.

Tesla’s milestone marks another sign of evolution in the automotive industry. Many investors see Chief Executive Elon Musk as a visionary. Tesla said Friday that it had met Mr. Musk’s goal of delivering at least 360,000 electric vehicles in 2019.

“We believe this new solid quarter of deliveries could further put to rest investor concerns around softening demand for Tesla’s product,” Emmanuel Rosner, lead auto and auto technology analyst at Deutsche Bank, wrote in a report.

The company still faces obstacles: It has yet to turn an annual profit and its fortunes rest largely on how it performs overseas, particularly in China.

Tesla shares have been volatile: They lost half of their value between Dec. 13, 2018, and June 3, 2019, but have since more than doubled. Challenges that weighed on the company last year included problems delivering vehicles and an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into Mr. Musk’s use of Twitter.

The company said Tuesday that it is starting work related to production of its Model Y compact sport-utility vehicle at Gigafactory Shanghai, Tesla’s first overseas plant.

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