The surge in Tesla’s shares so far this month moved Elon Musk’s company even closer to displacing Toyota as the world’s most valuable car maker.
With a market capitalisation of more than US$190-billion, Tesla still has some distance to close to reach Toyota’s $212-billion valuation, which includes treasury shares. A rally of about another 14% in Tesla shares could see it claim the crown if Toyota holds steady, with Tesla already up 23% since the beginning of June.
Tesla’s valuation comes despite a gulf in the scale of the two automakers. The Palo Alto, California-based maker of electric cars produced 103 000 vehicles in the first quarter, or about 4% of the almost 2.4 million made by Toyota.
Tesla climbed another 9% on Wednesday to close above $1 000 for the first time as Musk, the CEO, told employees it was “time to go all out” and put its Semi truck into volume production. Wedbush Securities touted the “massive” opportunity for the company in China, with Tesla appearing to be on track to reach 100 000 deliveries from its Shanghai factory in the first year.
Tesla became the world’s second most valuable automaker in January, when it surpassed Volkswagen. It’s now worth more than twice the German rival, which said on Wednesday it will meet an end-of-northern-hemisphere-summer deadline to start delivering its flagship ID.3 electric car.
Tesla’s recent rally has also been boosted by hype surrounding newly listed Nikola, a battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell truck maker.
Toyota, meanwhile, forecasts 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. Shares in Toyota are down about 10% so far this year, trading about 17% lower than the record high hit in 2015. Toyota’s market valuation includes the 14.3% of shares that Toyota itself holds as treasury stock, worth around $30-billion.
Despite pioneering interest in fuel-efficient vehicles with the Prius hybrid, Toyota was late to shift to EVs, betting first on hydrogen fuel cells. The company is now changing course with a series of high-profile investments in EVs, self-driving cars and futuristic cities.
“My true mission is to completely redesign Toyota into a mobility company,” Akio Toyoda, CEO and grandson of the automaker’s founder, said last year. — Reported by Gearoid Reidy, (c) 2020 Bloomberg LP