Tesla Motor Inc. (TSLA) is an American electric car and power-train designer, developer, manufacturer and distributor headed by CEO and serial entrepreneur Elon Musk. The company was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Palo Alto, California. It is also involved with providing services to other automotive companies toward these goals, for example, by selling its battery technology. Tesla Motors Inc. has two primary revenue segments: automotive sales and development services. As of Sept. 30, 2018, automotive sales accounted for the lion's share of revenue, while development services made up a small, but growing, proportion of revenue.
Major competitors for Tesla include traditional auto companies such as Ford Motor Company, the multinational automobile manufacturer founded in 1903; General Motors (GM), the U.S.-based automobile manufacturer founded in 1908; Honda Motor Company (HMC), a multinational automobile manufacturer founded in 1948; Nasdaq-listed Kandi Technologies; Navistar (NAV), commercial vehicle holding company; Oshkosh (OSK), truck and military vehicle manufacturer, founded in 1917; PACCAR Inc., truck manufacturer; Spartan Motors, specialty chassis and vehicle manufacturer; Tata Motors, the largest automotive manufacturer in India; Toyota Motor Corp. (TM), a multinational automotive manufacturer; and Wabco (WBC), manufacturer of systems for heavy-duty commercial vehicles. Federal Signal, an industrial conglomerate, can also be seen as a competitor in the development services space.
Traditional car companies are continuously increasing their offerings of hybrid gasoline-electric cars as well as pure electric vehicles—such as the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf. Still, Tesla cars carry with them a certain high-status cache that has not yet been reproduced by the incumbent automakers. But this may soon change; by Q4 of 2018, car companies involved with developing and producing commercially available electric cars include BMW, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar / Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo.
In 2018, US News issued its list of top 8 electric vehicles, where a Tesla car took the #4 and #2 slots:
- 8) 2018 Kia Soul EV
- 7) 2018 BMW i3
- 6) 2018 Nissan Leaf
- 5) 2018 Volkswagen e-Golf
- 4) 2018 Tesla Model 3
- 3) 2018 Hyundai Ioniq EV
- 2) 2018 Tesla Model S
- 1) 2018 Chevrolet Volt EV
Tesla markets and sells its cars through its own network of retail stores located in North America, Europe, and Asia. For the full fiscal year of 2017, the company reported gross revenues of $11.6 billion. Tesla has a market capitalization of $62.8 billion as of December 14, 2018. It does not pay a dividend.
Tesla has not remained profitable despite its high demand for its electric cars and rapid expansion—the company has also been investing heavily in its infrastructure, with the construction of its new Gigafactory in Reno, Nevada, among other initiatives. As a result of this expansion, the firm is expected to reduce the costs of the batteries installed in its cars by 30% once the factory begins production. "Given that Tesla has never made an annual profit in the almost 15 years since it existed, profit is obviously not what motivates us," Elon Musk wrote in a company 2018 email. Tesla lost nearly $2 billion in 2017, lost $675 million in 2016, and lost $889 million in 2015.