Tesla's market cap soared in 2019, making it the most valuable US-based auto manufacturer.
Forget the concerns from the naysayers, and forget that profitable quarters have been woefully few and far between. Because Palo Alto-based Tesla, Inc. is now far and away the most valuable US-based auto manufacturer in terms of market value, its share prices soaring by more than a hundred dollars over the past year.
$TSLA stock very nearly crested $500 per share this week and now hovers around $480 as of this writing, following the company's surprise announcement that it had met production volume targets in the fourth quarter. That gives it a market capitalization - the total value of all outstanding shares - in excess of $85 billion USD, which is about equal to Ford's $36.7 billion and GM's $49.7 billion combined market caps.
And, CBS News points out, it's more than Ford's $78 billion peak value achieved back in 1998, which was previously an all-time high for US automakers.
Despite the rally, it could be argued that investors' faith in Tesla, Inc. is misplaced. After losing more than $1 billion over the first half of last year, the company posted a surprise $143 million profit in Q3 2019, marking just its fifth profitable quarter over more than ten years on the market. By contrast, GM is estimated to have raked in $7 billion in profit in 2019, after posting $10.8 billion in 2018 and $11.9 billion in 2017.
But in the past year, Tesla has demonstrated a potential for tremendous future growth, setting a new record with 367,500 vehicles delivered in 2019 - surpassing a targeted minimum of 360,000 deliveries - and starting production at a new facility in Shanghai that will eventually turn out 3,000 new Tesla vehicles every week. That, in combination with new models planned for launch over the coming years - the promise of Model Y crossover, semi truck, and Roadster sports car this year, as well as the Cybertruck pickup in 2021 - gives Tesla the sort of momentum that Ford and GM can't seem to match.