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How Did Tesla Become the Most Valuable Car Brand? Tesla History Timeline.

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Tesla is the most valuable car company in the world now. Its market capitalization has crossed $1 trillion.

It is so valuable that if I keep Tesla on one side, and look at the next 10 most valuable car companies, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, Toyota, BMW, the combined valuation of these 10 companies, would be equal to Tesla’s.

What is so special about Tesla?

What is Elon Musk’s magic that has made this company so valuable?

Let’s understand Tesla’s Business Model.

At first glance, you’d think that if Tesla is such a valuable company, it must be selling a lot of cars. This isn’t true. Although it is certainly true that the number of Tesla cars sold this year, is much more than last year. It has good growth. But if you compare overall, the number of Tesla cars sold in 2021, or rather the number of Tesla cars that will be sold by the end of 2021, will be less than 1 million.

US-Tesla-automakter-market-share-all-2021

75 million. It is estimated that around 900,000 Tecla’s would be sold this year. The overall market share of Tesla is only 1.2%. A meager market share, but an enormous valuation.

Let’s look at the main Tesla products that are being sold that form the revenue of Tesla. Talking about cars, mainly, there are 4 very popular models of Tesla. Models S, 3, X, Y. The most expensive of them is the Model X. Around $99,900 for this car. Then, Model S at $90,000. Model Y at $55,000. And Model 3, the most sold Tesla car, it’s also the cheapest Tesla car, at $42,000. It’s being expected that Tesla would soon introduce the Model 3 in India. Tesla Model 3 price in India, it will cost around ₹7 million. It will be the cheapest model of Tesla. One thing is for sure, that Tesla cars come in the high-end luxury category.

Graph-Tesla-vehicle-sales-by-model-quarterly-deliveries-CleanTechnica-logo

If you look at this chart you’d know the volume of sales of each model. Generally, the Tesla Model X and S around 10,000. And Tesla Model 3 at 90,000. This chart is for the quarterly deliveries.

What is Tesla’s profit margin in selling one car?

To have a fair estimate, It is the overall sales minus the manufacturing cost. For Tesla, this is at 30.5%. It is believed to be a very high-profit margin.

In comparison, in the past, it used to be around 27%. And now it has crossed 30%. It has seen good growth too. If you compare it to the other car companies, it is more than in most companies. Even BMW and Mercedes don’t get such a high-profit margin. For most car companies, it is in the 15%-20% range. In fact, this margin of more than 30%, is only for the high-end extreme luxury brands like Porsche or Ferrari.

Selling cars is the main source of revenue for Tesla. Most of the revenue earned by Tesla is from car sales. But it is not the only source of revenue.

What other sources of revenue does Tesla have?

Its sources of revenue can be divided into 3 main categories.

First is the automotive. That includes the car sales. Apart from it, the Sale of Regulatory Credits is also included in it. I’ll explain the Sale of Regulatory Credits later in the article.

The second is Servicing. Servicing the cars is also a source of revenue for the company.

The third main source is the energy business of Tesla. You might already know that Tesla doesn’t sell cars only. It sells Solar Roof and Power Wall as well. The concept of the Solar Roof is quite simple. If you have to install solar panels in your home, you can get them from Tesla. The Power Wall has also been created with the perspective of renewable energy. If you have solar panels in your home, but if there isn’t much sunshine, where would you get electricity from? You need a place to store energy. Their Power Wall is an energy-storing device.

tesla-powerwall-specs

This Wall looks like this. Additionally, Tesla has plans to launch an electric truck. Cybertruck, They’re already working on it. There are also plans to launch a low-cost car model in the future. They haven’t disclosed its name yet. It will cost around $25,000. Even the middle-class people of America would be able to afford it. Combining all the revenue of Tesla, in 2020 it was around $32 billion. It is being estimated that in 2021, it will be around $45 billion.

tesla-revenue-by-year

In this chart, you can see their revenue growth.
Revenue is the number of money that a company earns. The earnings of the company. In the same chart, you can see the future projections of the estimated revenue of Tesla.

tesla-annual-revenue-breakdown-by-value

In the chart, you can also see the breakdown. Red shows the revenue from car sales and automotive. Orange is for the revenue from selling energy products. Products like Tesla Solar Roof and Power Walls. And Yellow shows the revenue from Servicing. Around 80% of the company’s revenue is from the sales of Tesla cars. If we compare this with a company like General Motors.

tesla-revenue-vs-gm-vs-ford

The revenue of General Motors, in this chart, you can see that Tesla is lagging. In terms of revenue generation, Tesla is yet to reach the levels at which it can compete with the other car companies.

But you can see it grow on the chart. Tesla is catching up with them fast. In the future, it’s possible that Tesla would overtake companies like GM and Ford. Interestingly, the money earned by Tesla is less than the money spent by Tesla. You’d wonder how this could be possible.

Tesla has a nice profit margin. The cost to manufacture one car, allows it to get profit on sale at a 30% profit margin.

On what is the money spent?

The simple answer to it is on Research and Development. Tesla is spending billions of dollars on researching and developing good technology. For this exact reason,

Tesla had been a loss-making company for many years, up till 2019.

2020 was the first year when Tesla made a net profit. And do you know what’s more interesting?

While the other car manufacturing companies spend a lot of money on advertising. On marketing and promoting the cars, Tesla’s advertising spending is $0. Tesla doesn’t spend any money advertising its cars.

RD-vs-Marketing-DS-Main-

Look at this chart. It has shown a good comparison of different car companies the per car expenditure on R&D and the per car expenditure on Advertising. For Tesla, the advertising spending is 0. But R&D expenses are almost thrice than that of the other car companies.

You’d wonder how this could be possible.

Look at this chart. It has shown a good comparison of different car companies the per car expenditure on R&D and the per car expenditure on Advertising. For Tesla, the advertising spending is 0. But R&D expenses are almost thrice than that of the other car companies.

You’d wonder how this could be possible.

How could a company sell its products without using ads?

The simple answer is Elon Musk’s popularity. Elon Musk is such a popular personality, with only one tweet, he can impact the price of Dogecoin. So you can imagine, such a popular person doesn’t need to spend on advertising for the promotion of his company. There is so much hype built up for Tesla, that it gets automatic media coverage from all the companies. There are so many new exciting features in their car, they present so many new and unique things, that people get curious about it and write on social media, discuss them, the media companies publish articles about it, news channels talk about it on TV. In marketing, this is known as Word of Mouth Marketing.

If you like something so much that you tell your friends and family about it, and they like it immensely as well, and they tell their friends, this leads to the promotion of the thing.

Other than this, there are so many unique things about Tesla, in comparison to the other car companies, that make it unique in itself that makes it special.

Another example of this is their car dealership model. Other car companies often sell their cars through car dealers. A third party is involved in between. You would’ve seen that when you go to buy a car, there is some dealership involved. Tesla doesn’t do so. If you want to buy a car from Tesla, you can order it from their website directly. Or you can go to their showroom and buy a car from Tesla directly. So there are no middlemen no need negotiations. And Tesla doesn’t lose money on commission either.

The disadvantage of this model is that for Tesla, this increases their costs. They need to have their delivery centers. Hire staff there, carry out maintenance. Train the staff. The other car companies do not have to bear these costs. But the advantage is that Tesla has total control of the process from start to end. You can compare this with the Apple company. Apple does the same. Apple tries to control as many things as it can. Whether it is the Operating System, software of the phone, or chip manufacturing.

Tesla’s direct sales method is banned in some US States. Like in Texas. That’s why Tesla can’t legally sell any cars directly in Texas. People living in Texas have to go to other states to buy Tesla cars.

 

giga factory

Another special thing about Tesla is its giga-factories.

The gigantic factories they have established to establish the principle of Economies of Scale. In economics, there’s a concept Economies of Scale. The larger the scale of production of something, it reduces the cost per unit of it. In electric cars, over several years there was a problem that the cost of batteries was very high. So Tesla introduced the concept of Giga factories, where they set up gigantic factories for manufacturing the batteries for their cars in order to reduce their cost. Presently, there are 6 Giga factories worldwide. 4 of them are functional and 2 under construction.

Apart from these, perhaps the most special thing about Tesla is the technologies that they use in their cars. The type of self-driving technology they’ve used has never been seen before in a car. In their autopilot mode, a driver could drive the car almost without doing anything. The car can drive itself. The safety features in their car are one of the best in the world. The credit to popularize electric cars globally goes to Tesla.

For these reasons, many people have confidence in Tesla and feel proud to invest in its stocks. They’re certain that in the future, this company would bring a revolution to the world. So many people have invested in Tesla’s stock, that it is the most popular stock in the US now.

In the last 2 years, Tesla’s share price has increased to 15 times. If you had invested ₹100,000 in Tesla’s stock in December 2019, today, that ₹100,000 would have been around ₹1.5 million.

So many people investing in Tesla’s stock is the reason why Tesla has become the most valuable car company in the world.

But there is another aspect of it. Many people believe that Tesla’s stock is currently overvalued. They think that it doesn’t have any reason to be so valuable if the data and statistics are looked into realistically.

 

What are the reasons why some people believe Tesla to be overvalued?

First, other car companies have entered the electric vehicle market too. And the market share of Tesla is starting to fall. The total electric vehicle registrations in the first 6 months of 2020, in the US, In it, Tesla’s market share was 79%. But in the first 6 months of 2021, this market share fell to 66%. The other car companies’ market share has started increasing.

EV-through-Q2-2021

Audi’s market share has increased to 3.3%. Ford’s to 5.2% Chevrolet’s has also increased. And almost all of the companies have introduced models of their electric cars. And in many cases, they are much cheaper than Tesla’s model. The second important reason here is the Regulatory Credits. I mentioned them earlier in the Article. Regulatory Credits are a very important source because of which Tesla can now be profitable. For Tesla, it is a revenue source.

What are Regulatory Credits?

In America, there is a Point or Credit System. For the companies that do not cause pollution or those that meet the maximum pollution emissions standards, the US government would give them credits or points. These are known as Regulatory Credits. Companies have 2 options now. They can either manufacture such vehicles that don’t cause pollution. Or if they are producing vehicles causing pollution, those companies need to purchase Regulatory Credits from either the government or other companies. And Tesla has earned many such Regulatory credits because they manufacture electric vehicles that do not cause any pollution, So the other car companies, have to buy these Regulatory Credits from Tesla. They pay Tesla in exchange. And thus it is a major revenue source for Tesla.

According to the 2020 annual report, almost $500 million of Tesla’s revenue was from the Sale of Regulatory Credits. In fact, if Tesla had no revenue from the Sale of Regulatory Credits, in 2020, Tesla wouldn’t have been a profitable company. It would’ve been in a net loss that year.

tesla-net-profits-wihout-regulatory-credits

You can see the impact on Tesla’s net profit if Tesla did not have any revenue from the Sale of Regulatory Credits. Many experts believe that in the next few years, Tesla wouldn’t have this revenue source any longer. Because the other car companies would ramp up the production of electric cars, or they would switch almost completely to electric vehicles. So they would no longer need to buy Regulatory Credits from Tesla. And so Tesla would lose this revenue source.

Will Tesla continue to remain a successful company in the upcoming years? Or will it fail? Time will tell. But I’ve told you both sides of the argument. What’s your opinion? Comment below.

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