The wild world of valuations continues to throw up surprises, with Ford’s century-long success story now valued less than Tesla’s eye for the future.
In the past five years, the gap between Ford and Tesla’s net revenues has come to more than $28bn, with Bloomberg reporting that the latter’s $2.3bn loss in that time frame was in sharp contrast to Ford’s $26bn in profit.
However, it seems that tangibles don’t matter a great deal in valuations, with Tesla’s forward-focused business model attractive enough to see it overtake Ford.
Yesterday (3 April) saw Elon Musk’s electric vehicle (EV) company reach a valuation of $48.2bn. This is $3bn more than Ford, whose profits may have slowed somewhat, but it is still in the black.
The enthusiasm behind Tesla has been fuelled by the busy first quarter of 2017. For example, last month, it secured $1.8bn after selling 5pc of its company to Chinese tech giant Tencent.
Tencent is banking big on future transport, becoming an early investor in NextEV, a Shanghai EV start-up now known as Nio, based in the US.
Earlier this year, Tencent also invested in Here, a company sold by Nokia to a number of major German auto manufacturers back in 2015 for a sum of €2.5bn, as part of a future of connected cars and, more specifically, autonomous vehicles.
If Tencent is investing, people are interested.
Meanwhile in January, mere hours after Chris Lattner announced plans to leave Apple and “pursue an opportunity in another space”, the “open source programming guru” popped up at Tesla.
In a blog post, Tesla welcomed Lattner, who is taking up his role as VP of the organisation’s Autopilot software.
Elon Musk says that Tesla could produce up to 500,000 vehicles in 2018, after the launch of the Model 3.
In March last year, just 24 hours after announcing it, Tesla’s Model 3 (at $35,000) was taking orders ahead of a late 2017 release. The number of those putting down deposits exceeded 232,000 worldwide.