Electric Vehicle Maker Tesla Is Now Worth More than Ford
Tesla, the electric vehicle manufacturer helmed by Elon Musk, set a new record in the first quarter by delivering 25,000 vehicles.
The 14-year-old company is now worth more than 113-year-old Ford, with a market cap of $47 billion compared with Ford's $45 billion. While Tesla beat analyst estimates, Ford's March sales dropped 7.2 percent year over year, sending its stock down on Monday.
Analysts expected Ford sales to drop just a little over 5 percent this March. While the automaker saw record sales of its Escape vehicles, Ford sold a total of a little under 237,000 vehicles this past month. That's a significant drop from last March, when Ford posted its best month of sales in 10 years with about 255,000 vehicles sold.
Tesla is certainly smaller, and it's still losing money. The electric vehicle manufacturer had $7 billion in annual revenue in 2016 while Ford saw close to $152 billion. Tesla also posted a loss of $773 million last year.
While much smaller in quantity, the record-setting deliveries are a good sign for Tesla as it prepares to begin production of its first mass-market vehicle, the Model 3.
In other words, Tesla may be beginning to hit its stride as it continues to take on the challenge of being a large-scale manufacturer like Ford. Tesla is aiming to deliver 50,000 cars in the first half of this year and 500,000 cars by the end of 2018. To that end, the company has plans to build at least three more Gigafactories later this year.
These are ambitious goals for a company that has previously missed many of its deadlines, casting doubt on its ability to deliver the more than 300,000 Model 3s that were reserved in the days after the new 's reveal.
It's certainly not the only factor in Tesla's increase in sales and Ford's drop, but if the Model 3 reservations were any indication, there is high demand for relatively affordable electric vehicles with semi-autonomous features. Unlike Musk, Ford CEO Mark Fields is keen on working on highly or fully autonomous vehicles and expects to have those vehicles ready to be used in a ride-sharing network by 2021.
Musk, on the other hand, derided companies that didn't put out semi-autonomous technology.
"I think it would be morally wrong to withhold functionalities that improve safety simply in order to avoid criticisms or for fear of being involved in lawsuits," he said during an earnings call.
This is an ongoing debate in the industry: Is it safer to incrementally roll out semi-autonomous technology and trust humans to know its limits, or safer to wait until the technology is fully self-driving but possibly delay seeing the safety benefits of assisted driving systems?
© 2017 Re/Code under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. All rights reserved.
May Interest You:
New cars come equipped with safety systems. But how about all the other cars that are more than a year old? No worries... There are plenty of car safety features that are available, affordably, for ALL cars, not just new ones.
See products that are available for YOUR car at: Make My Car Safe, the premium online seller of car safety products for ALL cars.