Tesla Is The World's 4th Largest Automaker (Despite Only Selling 76,000 Cars In 2016)

Tyler Durden's picture

It’s been another breakout year for Tesla. Over the course of 2017, the company’s market capitalization has soared beyond those of major manufacturers like Ford, GM, BMW, Honda, and Nissan. This thrust can be partly attributed to the company’s Model S, which reigns supreme as the top-selling plug-in electric car worldwide in 2015 and 2016.

But, as Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins notes, more importantly for Tesla, this massive momentum is based on the company’s much-anticipated future performance. Investors and analysts eagerly anticipate progress as the company ramps up production of the more affordable Model 3, and many also strongly believe that Elon Musk brings an “X Factor” that could translate into future returns.

In today’s charts, we look at Tesla’s ascent in valuation to become the #4 ranked automaker globally, and also the #1 maker in America. We also show why the value assigned to Tesla’s astonishing valuation may be premature, at least based on conventional metrics.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist



In the opening months of 2013, Tesla was just starting to plan deliveries for its Model S. At the time, the company was worth a mere $3.9 billion – just 7% of the value of Ford.

Since then, Tesla’s value has skyrocketed to make it the most valued auto company in North America:

Despite only producing 76,230 vehicles in 2016, Tesla is now the biggest of the “Big 3” – and this puts a lot of pressure on the company to live up to the vast expectations held by investors and media.


With so much hype and value assigned to expectations of future performance, Tesla and its enthusiastic investors are in a potentially tough spot.

Even though it is the most valued car company in the United States, Tesla is much less impressive by more conventional metrics:

The company has just a fraction of the employees, vehicle deliveries, and revenue of its competitors. Tesla also treads a similar path to Amazon, in that it will likely take a while for the company to ever post a profit.

Here’s another look, this time showing Tesla’s metrics as a percentage of GM’s:

Tesla is producing less than 1% as many cars as GM, but is worth more in market value.

That’s not to say that Tesla will not ultimately live up to expectations – but it does put into perspective the risk of banking on these future returns.

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Youri Carma's picture

Yep, smart people buy Mazda because they're awfully durable and somewhat of a forgotten car on the second hand market.

wildbad's picture

the only thing being driven here is you.

top down. no one wants this electro crap.

the eco zombies should be against them if they were rational.

anyone with a halfway serious commute should just laugh.

the economics don't work without stealing from everyone.

you need an amplifier to make any decent noise.

why aren't they pushing ion drive already in our jetson mobiles? its just as illusory and more fun.

Troy Ounce's picture
This Is How Mazda's New Holy Grail Of Gasoline Engines Works


And the explanation: https://youtu.be/9KhzMGbQXmY

Son of Thor's picture

I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do… http://disq.us/url?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jobproplan.com%3A68UoF1LgzM-Yo3S...

PT's picture

There's no law against optimism.  I checked :


JRobby's picture

4th largest (Laugh Track Deafening !!!!)

Bubble up! See them as the new status symbols among those that are good at accumulating money but nothing else. 

The Iconoclast's picture


Edison built an electric car.  It could go five miles on a charge.  He told a young Henry Ford he was on the right track to be using gasoline.  Still applies today.

Cars don't have to be electric to be self-driving.

France, England and Germany are committing economic suicide if they seriously try to go all-electric by 2040.

I want to see electric-powered bulldozers, backhoes, and long-haul semis.  Sure!

A. Boaty's picture

You have the story wrong. Edison and Ford had a joint venture to manufacture an electric car. A mysterious fire destroyed Edison's battery factory. That gave gasoline the edge it needed to take off.

Edison never told Ford to switch to gasoline.

adr's picture

Ha, JD Power. They are about as reliable as Consumer Reports. 

Mazda took a big hit in reliability when they were forced to use Ford platforms. New Mazdas are very reliable. 

whensteamedapumpkinwillfart's picture

I will testify to that. My pick up just won't die.

Expectorant's picture

The "Holy Grail" of ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) is coming to market, in 2019. Mazda would bring to market, the world's first commerically viable compression-ignition gasoline engine aka HCCI (Homogeneous Charged Compression Ignition) engine.



Even the likes of giants Mercedes Benz,, GM and Hyundai/Kia we're beaten by small niche maker Mazda, to the punch.

Mazda, is well ahead among the world's automakers in gasoline engine technology. 

bluskyes's picture

Too complicated. It will join the wenkel. Toyotas linear generator is the way of the future

Nobodys Home's picture

We're #1 Cause we get SUBSIDIES!

Moe Hamhead's picture

whenever I hear the word Tesla, my ass hurts.

Nobodys Home's picture

Bullish on lithium. Not just because everyone is crazy.

napper's picture

Put Tesla on your watch list for big short positions.


Beware of Wall St. manipulation during big price swings. The crooks may push the price up before bringing on a big crash.


Same for Amazon.

Righttoarmbears's picture

Bored of the tesla bashing now, we know its snake oil, get over it.

Silversides's picture

I had a guest the other night at my restaurant that had to leave his Tesla overnight because he didn't have the juice to get it home. He dropped a bunch of coin on good wine though, Thanks Elon, keep up the good work....dipshit.

tuetenueggel's picture

Pls be cautious, stupidity is dangerous to those who get in contact with.

JRobby's picture

The latest "must have" trinket among those that must show their "success" or be unable to breathe.

redc1c4's picture

what's wrong with this picure?

tuetenueggel's picture

It´s quite new for my understanding, that promising unrealised dreams makes any company

profitable. As long as Musk can collect funds from idiots, he´ll not drown.

Money after going bankrupt isn´t vanished. It´s only in someone else´s pockets.

JRobby's picture

Funding losses to infinity is the realm of governments not industry????

Azannoth's picture

And that's exactly why I don't put any more money in the stock-market- IT'S FULL RETARD!

Dank fur Kopf's picture

Toyota is doing very well in the last few years due to being the sole supplier to al-Qaeda and Islamic State thanks to billionaire terrorist enabler Hassan Jameel, aka Rihanna's sugar daddy. House of Jameel owns the exclusive rights to sell Toyota throughout the entire middle-east--every single car goes through them.

Arnold's picture

Finally, a named go to guy for my HiLux with the twin Ma Deuce option.

south40_dreams's picture

Nothing to see here, move along lemmings

hooligan2009's picture

the market is clearly pricing tesla as rivalling GM and ford for profitability

dividing revenue by unit sales

GM = 16,640 per unit

Tesla = 92,100 per unit

hmmm.. so... since both units do the same thing (A to B) either GM increases its price around 6 times or Tesla drops its price by 80% to deliver the same utility in terms of A to B.

on a revenue basis, tesla can match GM with one sixth the sales or 1.7 million units v GM's 10 million - hard to do profit per uit, since half of teslas price is paid directly from the government.

tesla should buy GM and sell Tesla's?

GM should release an all electric car and compete head on with tesla (say at 40,000 per unit?)

GM should sue the Government for the same subsidies enjoyed by tesla?

ponders the insurance and running costs of either unit and the equivalent energy costs of either gas or electricty

Anopheles's picture

Tell us, in what utopian world does PROFIT not matter?  Who cares how much revenue they have per vehicle?

As for revenue per vehicle, WHO is going to CONTINUE to buy those $100k cars?  What's the average income worldwide to be able to AFFORD a $100k car?   Why do you think GM and all the other manufacturers have low average revenue per vehicle? 

The Model 3 is going to be a $50k to $60k car (from the mouth of Musk himself).  Tell us about that average income again? 

Also, Ford has more PROFIT than Tesla has total sales.



Last of the Middle Class's picture

GM is shit, they have dependability issues out the ass these day. Tesla is so large because most people can't tell the difference in Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. One is a hard driving type A personality, the other is a huckster carney looking for government handouts in the billions.

smallbedbug's picture

I love my Tesla, I blow away Vettes, Mutstang and Dodges like nothing.

south40_dreams's picture

Just don't drive too far out of town to race

ThunderStruck's picture

You have us mistaken for people that give a fuck...

south40_dreams's picture

The manufacturing process for those batteries far out pollutes ANYTHING an internal combustion engine automobile could ever hope to produce. But snowflakes care not

hedge4Gain's picture

TELSA IS Obama's fake car company.  It is the flim flam company of all time, totally financed by the federal goverment.  Elon Musk reminds me of Al Gore only Musk is  better salesmen, this is one of the biggest con job on America excluding the entire Clinton family and the democrats.  Anyone investing in TELSA better time the high or kiss their money good by.  It is such a joke that the government even has to subsidize the purchases of their products.

Dickweed Wang's picture

So Tesla makes the same number of cars per year as one of GM's smaller CAR LINES yet is considered "the 4th largest car company"??  And on top of that they have NEVER turned a profit???  Is this some kind of sick joke????

ThunderStruck's picture

It's kind of like placing 4th in the Olympics, you win a big nothingburger...