Why Toyota Sold All Its Tesla Stock

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The electronic vehicles (EV) joint venture between one of the world’s largest cars companies and one of its most advanced has ended. Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) sold its entire block of Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) shares as the Japanese manufacturer charts its own course in the EV world.

According to Automotive News:

Toyota Motor Corp. said on Saturday it had sold all shares in Tesla Inc. by the end of 2016, having cancelled its tie-up with the U.S. automaker to jointly develop electric vehicles.

Japan’s biggest automaker acquired around a 3 percent stake in the Palo Alto-based automaker for $50 million.

Toyota spokesman Ryo Sakai said the company had sold all of its shares in Tesla as of the end of 2016, part of a regular, periodic review of its investments, after it had initially sold down a portion in 2014.

For the most part, until two years ago, the electric car company business was a game of follow the leader. That leader was Tesla. Its cars were admired worldwide for their advanced technology and flawless quality. Since then, every large car company, and many smaller ones, have elected to pursue electric car projects of their own. Several have even launched direct competitors to Tesla vehicles, including General Motors Co.’s (NYSE: GM) Chevy Bolt, which the manufacturer sells for about $36,000.

According to CleanTechnica, electric car sales are rising quickly in the United States, up 74% in the first quarter to nearly 25,000. Tesla’s Model S and Model X were the top-selling cars in that period.

Tesla also has shown other car companies the high level of investor enthusiasm for these products. The company’s market cap it $56 billion, compared to Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE: F) at $45 billion and GM’s at $52 billion. Tesla shares are up 54% in the past year. At least Toyota probably made money on its sale.