Tesla's historic decade makes it the auto industry's best performer–and it's not even close

A Tesla Model S prototype on the Nurburgring. (Photo: Auto Motor Uund Sport)

Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) performance in the stock market has surprised many people. Very few analysts expected a small electric car startup based out of Palo Alto, California to become the highest performing automaker in terms of growth, total return, and shareholder value over the past decade.

Investors who have stuck with Tesla since the electric car maker went public in 2010 have seen their investments rise over 1,100%. Data compiled by Bloomberg showed that the auto industry, in general, has appreciated 158% over the past 10 years.

While Musk is seen as one of the most ridiculed automotive CEOs in the business, his company’s performance speaks for itself. After he was forced by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to pay a $20 million fine (on top of another $20 million that Tesla had to pay) for a tweet that allegedly “misled stockholders,” he still inspired confidence among Tesla’s investors. This seemed to have paid off for the company’s supporters, as TSLA recently had its shares spike to over $420 apiece.

Tesla’s sharp and consistent growth has given the company a ranking as the third-most valuable car manufacturer in the world with a $78 billion valuation. This figure trails only Volkswagen ($98 billion) and Toyota ($230 billion) among 38 total manufacturers in the world. Tesla is over 30% more valuable than General Motors and over twice as valued as the Ford Motor Company.

The company has also successfully outperformed some of the biggest and most consistent car manufacturers in the world in terms of sales. The Model 3 sedan has become the most popular vehicle in the United States’ luxury segment, beating veterans from Japan and Germany. Since the Model S first went on sale in 2012, Tesla has also seen its sales grow 52x (5200%) while the rest of the automotive sector has only seen a 46% growth.

In the past six months, TSLA shares saw a rise of 85%. This is so drastic that the company would have been the best performer in the S&P 500 if it was included in the esteemed list. This also allowed Tesla to be the top company among 38 of its peers that are listed in the Bloomberg Intelligence Global Automobile Index.

Despite the undeniable growth from the company, there are still analysts on Wall Street who believe Tesla’s growth is unimpressive and not worth mentioning. Kynikos Associates’ Jim Chanos stated that the electric car maker is still “one of our biggest and our best short positions.” Notorious Tesla short David Einhorn has insisted that the “wheels are falling off” of Tesla.

These shorts continue to believe this despite more than $2 billion worth of losses, particularly as the company has been in a rally since breaking the $400 mark in mid-December. That being said, some shorts have been leaving due to the damages they sustained, causing short-selling to drop around 9.2%, according to Bloomberg Opinion.

Tesla’s continuing growth is undeniable and forecasts suggest the company is not even close to finished. Bloomberg analysts suggest 14% more growth by the end of the year, 21% in 2020 and 18% in 2021. This is compared to an estimated 1%, 4%, and 3% growth for legacy automakers in the same time period.

The growth of the electric car market as a whole this decade is notable, to begin with, but Tesla seems to be responsible for the majority of this. With the carmaker now beginning to produce more than just fast and technologically advanced sedans, it seems another decade of growth is in the cards for the company.

Tesla's historic decade makes it the auto industry's best performer–and it's not even close
To Top