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Tesla outsells Porsche, Jaguar in California; market value tops $20 billion

10 years in the making, the EV startup starts recording a profit.

By James_Tate Aug 27, 2013 6:48AM

Since launching in 2003, Tesla has – against all odds and predictions – taken the almost obscure concept of electric-powered vehicles mainstream.

After 10 long years of production, but only three years as a publicly traded company, Tesla's market value hit a record high of $20 billion at the beginning of this week. Heck, you might not believe it, but with just one model, the company is outselling Porsche in Tesla's home state of California. According to a report from the California New Car Dealers Association, more Californians have registered a new Tesla through the first half of the year than a new Cadillac, Buick, Volvo, Chrysler, Fiat, Mitsubishi, Lincoln, Land Rover or Jaguar. So what's going on?


Change takes time. For years, environmental activists have pushed to reduce energy consumption and cut down on non-biodegradable items, such as plastic bags, that consumers use. Only now, after what feels like more than a decade of struggle and public-service announcements, are people bringing their own bags to the supermarket.


So it follows that after its own 10-year struggle, Tesla is finally reporting profits – albeit not from its automotive sales but from special revenue sources – and making a real name for itself. We don’t need to tell you that building cars in a market full of nothing but very big players is a heck of a lot harder than bringing a bag to the supermarket.

This has proved a good year for Tesla, with the Model S being labeled Motor Trend’s and Automobile Magazine's 2013 Car of the Year, among other honors. During the first quarter of 2013, roughly 4,900 Model S cars were sold in the U.S., making it the top-selling plug-in electric car in North America, ahead of the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf.


For the remainder of 2013, Tesla intends to deliver 21,000 Model S sedans and projects doubling that figure that in 2014. According to CEO Elon Musk, the demand for the Model S currently exceeds Tesla's ability to make it.


Despite low expectations from independent auto analysts, Tesla has big plans. Slated for production in 2014 is the Model X CUV, which received a warm welcome at its 2012 unveiling at Tesla's design studios in Hawthorne, Calif. There have even been talks of building family-sized minivans and an electric pickup truck.


The sky is the limit for Tesla, as long as the company continues recording profits and cranking out its Model S. Maybe now it can figure out a way to reduce the sticker price so that the common folk can be a little more "green" themselves.


[Sources: Automotive NewsCalifornia New Car Dealers AssociationMotor TrendSF Gate Blog; Photo: Tesla Motors Inc.]

Aug 27, 2013 9:03AM

Wow.. I'm amazed at the bashers that have probably never seen one in person.  This car didn't get an award because it's a tree huggers dream. This car is an absolute beast.  It's a 4 door sedan that runs 12.3s 1/4 miles, handles like a porche, and has almost a 300mile range.  The interior is super high class with an lcd screen that looks like a big screen.  A close friend of mine who ONLY drives Mercedes and BMW's just drove one and is now on the list to buy one.  This same guy has driven Ferarri F50's and other exotics and said that the Telsa S is amazing.   My supercharged Cadillac STS-V was $80k new, so $70k for a car of this caliber is not bad.

If there one reason for libs and repubs to unite in agreement is to stick it to oil companies! Tesla is the real deal and I don't understand the haters.  It's not perfect technology and the infrastructure isn't quite there but it's a giant baby step in telling these oil companies to stick it!  
Aug 27, 2013 8:41AM
I think the Model X Tesla is awesome.  If I could afford one I would buy it
Aug 27, 2013 9:07AM
tesla is going to have a  tough row to hoe here in NY. we have laws prohibiting car manufacturers from selling directly to the public, thanks to lobbying by the new car dealers. I hope they and anyone who wants to start a new franchise can get these laws overturned, it sounds like an illegal restriction of trade to me.
Aug 27, 2013 9:00AM

I'd buy a Tesla just for the name and principle! 


...and I'd drive an "Edison" right off the road if there ever was one!


1903: Thomas Edison stages his highly publicized electrocution of an elephant in order to demonstrate the dangers of Nikola Tesla's alternating current, which, if it posed any immediate danger at all, was to Edison's own direct current.


Payback's a b1tch!

Aug 27, 2013 9:01AM
I have a Tesla model S- P85 and I love it. In the past I have owned a Mercedes S model a turbo Porsche 911 and a Audi A6 4.2...all -too problematic. In my opinion there is no comparison between the bunch, the Tesla is more stunning style wise than any other car I have owned oh, and faster too. 
Aug 27, 2013 9:48AM
Oh oh, cars are selling that don't require gas. Time for Exxon/Chevron/Shell to step in and take one week's rip-off profit and buy tesla for $20 billion, then shut it down.
Aug 27, 2013 9:18AM
California is a perfect place for one of these. I live in San Diego and there are literally hundreds of these cars around. I personally know 5 people that have them and they all love them. They look great. They are super quick. And make a lot of sense if you drive say 300 miles a week because then you only need to charge it once a week.

If you have not driven one, don;t bag it because you have no idea what you are talking about.

I've driven several Prius models... and they are crap. I've ridden in the Nissan Leaf... that is a toy. Not a car. Nothing more than a glorified golf cart.

The Tesla S is neither. It's a real car for real everyday driving conditions.

If you commute from San Diego to LA... you can make it there and back no problem.

It is not a good car if you drive cross country. Any destination farther away than 120 miles is not going to work for you. Get a different car.

They may not have caught on in the rest of the country, and I am not sure what the cold weather does to battery range and all that stuff... but let me tell you, this is not a compromise car. Yes, it's not cheap... but then neither is filling your car up out here... a $90 exercise. That's $360 a month for me. With one of these, I would save $290 a month.

These are not a crappy little Prius. They drive as well as an S-Class. And are as fast as a Cayenne. Less moving parts. Less B.S. And... they are made right here in California!

If I weren't paying $4.20 a gallon right now I might be able to save a few beans and buy one... I guess I will have to wait for the Model X.
Aug 27, 2013 9:02AM

I don't understand idiots who politicize other people's car choices.  I personally know two Prius owners, one is a rampant tea-party birther and the other is as far from a tree-hugger as you can get.  They bought their  cars because they are smooth, comfortable, nearly silent, and get an honest 43 mpg in city driving.  They made rational choices in their cars based on their wants and needs as drivers, not some imaginary political motivation.  BTW, they both usually drive at least 5-10 mph above the speed limit.



Aug 27, 2013 10:04AM

", the demand for the Model S currently exceeds Tesla's ability to make it. ".


To suggest that Mr. Musk lower the price of his produce is absolutely absurd.  If you were in Mr. Musk's position, Why in the world would you even consider lowering the price on a product where, even at it's current price, you cannot meet demand?  Either the writer knows nothing about business and finance, or this was a very poorly worded sentence.  Perhaps a better way to have put it would have been to suggest to Mr. Musk, one of the greatest inventors of our time, that he consider also manufacturing, in parallel to the fantastic Model S, a more budget friendly, stripped down version to compete with the Leaf.  To suggest that the pricing of the Model S should be reduced to compete with the Leaf is like suggesting that the pricing of yachts should be reduced to compete with rowboats.  Duh.

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