Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), tweeted that the electric vehicle (EV) maker has produced 3 million cars. Tesla’s 20th anniversary is around the corner. The company made its first Model S in 2012. It became the world’s most valuable car company and has held that distinction ever since. The road briefly hardened when Tesla nearly went bankrupt in 2017, at least according to Musk.
Tesla built its success on product quality and vehicles that, because of their design and advanced technology, drew customers by the hundreds of thousands. First, this happened in the United States and later in Europe and China. Part of the genius of the Tesla “ecosystem” was that people could charge their cars at home. This turned out to be particularly important when the number of nationwide charging stations was small.
Tesla shocked many skeptics as its market cap rose toward $1 trillion. Years before, its value surpassed that of every car company in the world. At the same time, brand valuation indexes showed that Tesla had the most valuable car brand in the world. This all happened while its EV sales dwarfed those of larger manufacturers, such as Toyota, Volkswagen and General Motors.
Remarkably, as other car companies have made attempts to catch Tesla in sales, all have fallen short. Startups such as Rivian and Lordstown Motors barely can claim they have viable futures. GM and VW have pledged to invest tens of billions of dollars to create all-electric fleets. Even with their scale, many doubt that any can catch Tesla in sales or market value.
As outrageous as it seemed during Tesla’s early years, the company dominates the path to the future of the auto industry. Making three million cars means that Tesla can claim to have become a mainstream car company.
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