"This is not a car manufacturer"

A Tesla Model X, in Shanghai, May 8.

Losses & profits. The number of candles is limited, but the cake is huge. For its 10 years of stock market listing, Tesla has offered itself a beautiful gift: the title of the most expensive automaker in the world. With 207 billion dollars (184 billion euros) in market capitalization, the Californian company is doubling the defending champion, Toyota, whose counter indicates a "small" 200 billion. The manufacturer, developed by the whimsical Elon Musk, nevertheless produces twenty times less cars than the Japanese giant. Worse, the latter is considered the most profitable and best managed in the profession, while the American firm came out of the red less than a year ago, with a meager profit.

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Two hundred and seven billion … Even Elon Musk didn't believe it. In May, as the action crossed the $ 700 threshold, he said it was too expensive. It is now over $ 1,100. Since the beginning of the year, the value of the company has increased threefold, and fivefold in one year. As if the industrialist did not know the Covid-19 pandemic, while the course of its most prestigious competitors, like General Motors, Ford or Toyota, plunged as their factories paralyzed.

How to explain this anomaly of a manufacturer whose production remains confidential and microscopic profits, and which knocked down the biggest industrialists on the planet. Of course, it will be noted that, while sales of gasoline cars have collapsed with containment, those of electrics continue to climb, driven by the green wave and the emission standards that accompany it.

The disruptive agent

Above all, you have to settle for the only possible explanation: Tesla is not a car manufacturer. It's a tech company, and its fellow travelers aren't called PSA or Volkswagen, but Apple, Google, or Amazon. In this case, the soaring share price, if not more logical, is more comparable with these digital champions, who have all seen their prices soar since the start of the year. So much so that the Nasdaq index, which brings them together, is now at the highest point in its history.

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Investors suspect Tesla will play the same automotive role as Amazon in distribution: the disruptive agent that uses its strength in software to reinvent a business. One of the Volkswagen administrators recently recognized this, saying that Tesla was ten years ahead of them. The markets now rely on only two compasses, that of the digital revolution, accelerated by the health crisis, and that of the central banks, which are drowning the economy under dollars or euros to mitigate the impact of the disaster. economic. So, the Stock Exchange practices its favorite exercise: dancing above the volcano.

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