The stock market value of Tesla, Elon Musk’s electric car company, has outpaced that of Ford Motor Company after a 7 percent surge on Monday. At the end of the day, Tesla was worth 49 billion to Ford’s 46 billion. The milestone is significant as an indicator of the market’s faith in Tesla’s mission of bringing electric, battery powered cars to a larger market. Ford is a more than century old empire that that has manufactured over 350 million vehicles since it was founded, whereas Tesla has yet to technically make a profit since it was founded 15 years ago. The shift in the market can be interpreted as a new indication that investors have faith in the future of sustainable technology.
Tesla produced 76,230 vehicles last year, while Ford manufactured 6.65 million for a profit of 10.4 billion. Tesla made sales worth 7 billion, but ended the year with losses of over 746 million dollars.
However, new figures published this week showed 25,000 dollars in sales, representing 70 percent growth, in the last three months alone. Investors also expect a continued rise in emissions standards around the world, further adding to Tesla’s appeal.
Musk has also raised expectations for the company, setting unprecedented production targets, such as 500,000 vehicles in 2018, perhaps doubling to 1 million in 2020.
The company has continued to move towards offering entirely driverless vehicles, and their new Model 3 is set to offer consumers a more affordable entry into the world of electric vehicles, at around 35,000 dollars. The offering is expected to help Tesla compete with mass-market automakers such as Ford for a larger portion of the market share.
Meanwhile, Ford sales last year outpaced 2015 by only 16,000, and even fell in their last quarterly update. They sold 1.7 million cats last quarter – 68,000 fewer than in the same quarter of last year.
According to Autotrader analyst Michelle Krebs:
“Investors are betting on the future, which they think is promising and they’re looking at the stock to make big gains. But there will come a day that Tesla has to make money and the Model 3 is a test of that. It will make or break whether Tesla can be a volume manufacturer that appeals to a wide swath of consumers and whether it can be profitable or not.
“One of the big risks that Tesla will face is increased competition. Everyone from General Motors with the Chevrolet Bolt to BMW and Mercedes are being aggressive on electric cars. They will face increasing competition as established players and upstarts come into the market.”