- Tesla’s stock price recently peaked above $1,000, an historic high for the 16-year-old automaker.
- Tesla’s value topped Toyota’s; before that, the company was worth more than General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles combined.
- Tesla is 16 years old, the youngest major US automaker. Its value far outpaces in annual sales, and the company has never posted a full-year profit.
- Here’s how Tesla went from being worth $17 per share at its 2010 IPO to more than $1,000 — a more-than 3,000% return.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Tesla’s share price recently crested $1,000 per share, making the 16-year-old Silicon Valley automaker the world’s most valuable, worth more than Toyota and, at a $170-plus billion market cap, adding up to more than General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles combined.
Tesla stock retreated from that historic high, but shares are still close to a cool grand.
For some observers, this is perplexing: Tesla sold just a bit more than 250,000 vehicles in 2019, and the carmaker has never posted an annual profit.
But the view of Tesla bulls is that investors are pricing the future, and Tesla does have a near-monopoly on electric-car sales.
Tesla staged a relatively modest IPO in 2010, raising $226 million and pricing shares at $17. Since then, the stock price has appreciated over 3,000%, while the S&P returned a comparatively pathetic 167%.
Here’s how that august figure was achieved, year-by-year, starting in 2010:
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2010: Tesla’s IPO gave no indication of what was to come for the automaker. Shares priced at $17, and Tesla raised about $270 billion. At the time, the only vehicle for sale as the original Roadster.
The stock went … nowhere for a few years, as Tesla struggled with the aftermath of a near-bankruptcy in 2008 and the auto industry as a whole recovered from the financial crisis. PEAK FOR 2010: $35.
2011: Tesla had been able to buy, at a deep discount, a factory in Northern California that had formerly been jointly operated by General Motors and Toyota.
Head designer Franz Von Holzhausen and Tesla spent these early years preparing to build Tesla’s first clean-sheet vehicle. Meanwhile, the company saw Toyota and Daimler take stakes. PEAK FOR 2011: $35.
2012: The Model S arrives! It was the first all-electric luxury sedan to hit the market with a Tesla badge on the grille.
It won the 2013 Car of the Year award from Motor Trend, and Tesla was off and running. PEAK FOR 2012: $38.
2013: The year was all about generating anticipation for the Model X SUV, unveiled in 2012, and about producing and selling the Model S. Wall Street started to jumped on the bandwagon, as it looked as though Tesla would become profitable.
2013 was also the year that Tesla saw its first significant stock-price surge. “[F]or now they seem to be firing on all non-existent cylinders,” said Kelley Blue Book’s Karl Brauer. PEAK FOR 2013: $193.
Source: USA Today
2014: The all-wheel-drive version of the Model S was revealed.
And fans got their first dose of Tesla’s need for speed: the Model S has “Insane Mode” acceleration, later supplanted by “Ludicrous Mode,” which in some configurations enabled the Model S to outrun Ferraris and Lamborghinis. PEAK FOR 2014: $286.
2015: The Model X, after numerous delays, finally arrived. The signature feature was the SUVs upswinging Falcon Wing doors.
2015 was also the year that Tesla rolled out its semi-self-driving technology, Autopilot. The system meant that Tesla could keep up with what would become Waymo, but was then known as the Google Car Project. PEAK FOR 2015: $282.
2016: The Model 3, Tesla’s car for the masses, was revealed. It rapidly racked up hundreds of thousands for preorders.
In 2016, Tesla also merged with Solar City and added the Solar Roof product to its energy business. PEAK FOR 2016: $265.
2017: The Tesla Semi arrived! What the Model S had done for EVs, the Semi proposed to do for freight. PEAK FOR 2017: $385.
The Semi reveal also gave the public its first look at the new Roadster, which Tesla said could do 0-60 mph in less than two seconds, making it the world’s fastest production car.
2018: I checked out the Model 3 and was blown away. At the time, I decided it was the best car money could buy, a triumph of design and engineering.
But 2018 was a rough year for CEO Elon Musk. His infamous “funding secured” tweet and failed effort to take Tesla private led to a multimillion-dollar SEC fine and forced him to give up his Tesla chairman title. PEAK FOR 2018: $379.
2019: Tesla bounced back from 2018’s controversies and ended the year on a strong note, unveiling a much-anticipated — yet quite controversial — Cybertruck. The stainless-steel pickup has a polarizing design.
It set the stage for Tesla to end 2019 with a monumental stock-price rally, eventually surpassing nearly every other global automaker in market value. PEAK FOR 2019: $430.
2020: The COVID-19 pandemic caused Tesla to shut down operations at its new factory in China and in the US.
Tesla’s stock price shrugged off the immediate impact of the pandemic, as auto sales declined globally. But it remained to be seen if Tesla would ever peak above $1,000 again. PEAK FOR 2020 (SO FAR): $1,030.