Tesla Motors Co. saw a stock surge by 57 percent this week following the company’s first-quarter earnings report. Since April 1, the electric car company’s shares have skyrocketed up 138 percent.
The stock surge is largely in part a glowing review from Consumer Reports on the company’s Model S sedan. The all-electric car received a 99 out of 100 from the magazine — tying a former Lexus model for top honors.
Investors are also liking Tesla’s earning report. The company posted an $22 million first-quarter profit — a number that completely shattered the assumption that no automaker could make money selling a small number of all-electric cars.
Tesla also posted a 17 percent gross profit margin, using American workers. For the industry, 10 percent is considered outstanding. Theodore O’Neill, founder of Connecticut-based Litchfield Hills Research, commented:
“There’s a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for this car and this company in California, which we don’t see here on the other side of the continent. How far can Tesla go? As far as they want to go.”
The news comes after some have used Tesla and other electric car makers as “a political punching bag,” to quote Tesla Motors’ serial entrepreneur CEO Elon Musk. Most recently, Sarah Palin labeled Tesla’s Model S a “loser” when she criticized the Obama administration for backing Fisker Automotice, another electric car maker that could soon file for bankruptcy protection.
Tesla was also lumped in with green energy “losers” like Solyndra by former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But Tesla Motors has appeared to defy the odds. The 10-year-old company reported its first-ever quarterly profit. The company noted that it sold 4,900 Model S sedans in the first quarter.
It expects to sell about 21,000 of the cars this year. That amounts to about four times the combined US sales for luxury cars from Maserati, Lamborghini, and Ferrari. Tesla’s first quarter also outsold Chevrolet’s Volt plug-in hybrid and Nissan’s Leaf. But it couldn’t surpass Toyota, which sold almost 56,000 Prius models. It aims to sell 250,000 of the hybrids this year.
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[Image via Steve Jurvetson]