Over the past 12 months, the best performing car maker stock is — drum roll — Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA). Shares in the maker of electric vehicles (EVs) are up more than 18%. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) have both seen shares sink about -29%, while shares of Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) are down about -1% and shares of Honda Motor Corp. (NYSE: HMC) are down more than -10%.
Tesla, which missed both top- and bottom-line estimates last night soothed shareholders with word that the company’s new sedan, the Model S, will ship in June, a month ahead of schedule. The company claims that more than 10,000 customers have ordered the new $70,000 sedan. Tesla has sold about 2,250 of the 2,500 Roadsters it has built since 2008. By way of comparison, GM sold nearly 2,300 Chevy Volts in the month of March alone.
Despite the tiny sales numbers and a larger-than-expected EPS loss of -$0.76 last quarter, Tesla shares are rising on the news about the Model S and a small bump to revenue guidance for the rest of the year. Revenue totaled $30.2 million, below the consensus estimate of $32 million and down from $49 million in the same period last year.
For 2012 the company guided revenue to $560-$600 million, moving the low end up $10 million from a previous estimate. That’s a big quarterly hike based on first quarter numbers.
Investors appear to have great faith in Tesla’s ability to fill a high-end niche for EVs because the shares are up 11.6% today, at $33.55 in a 52-week range of $21.50-$39.95.