The value of a company is measured by the total selling power of its stock on the market. This is a number driven almost exclusively by shareholder faith in the company, which is fed by such an esoteric amalgam of data that it may as well be tea leaves. Nonetheless, it is notable that Tesla, the electric car manufacturer led by billionaire Elon Musk, has just become the most valuable U.S.-based auto company in American history.
In 1999, Ford set that record with an $80.8 billion stock market close. On Tuesday, January 7, 2020, Tesla set a new record by closing at $85 billion—a rise of more than 4% in a single day. Individual shares reached nearly $500. This rise is most likely due to their announcement the previous Friday that they delivered more than a third of a million vehicles in 2019, which is 50% more than what they delivered in 2018. Tesla’s surge in productivity not only indicates a massive increase in demand, it also proves the company is capable of meeting it.
“We believe this new solid quarter of deliveries could further put to rest investor concerns around softening demand for Tesla’s product,” wrote Emmanuel Rosner, a stock analyst at Deutsche Bank in a quote published by Business Insider.
Financial tarot or not, the current stock high does indicate that people are buying Tesla autos at a rising rate, more than enough to make up for their falling prices, profit-wise. The American public wants Tesla cars, and wants a lot of them.
If Tesla wants to dominate the world auto market, however, they still have a long way to go. That same laudable Tuesday, Volkswagen finished at $98 billion and Toyota, currently the king of cars, closed at $232 billion, nearly three times Tesla’s achievement. Ford, which has seen a number of massive falls since their 1999 peak, closed at $36 billion.