At first glance, that doesn't make any sense. Ford sold 2.6 million vehicles in 2016 and earned $4.6 billion for the year. Tesla shipped a comparatively tiny 76,000 vehicles and recorded a loss of $675 million.
The fact that Tesla stock is worth more than Ford stock is a sign that Wall Street envisions very different trajectories for the two companies. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has set aggressive growth goals for his company, aiming to produce 500,000 vehicles in 2018 and close to 1 million vehicles by 2020. But even if Musk meets these targets — and that's a big if — that still wouldn't justify valuing Tesla more highly than Ford, which already sells more than 2 million vehicles a year, including hundreds of thousands of highly profitable trucks.
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So Ford's market price seems to also be a signal that investors are pessimistic about Ford's prospects. Many observers expect that over the next decade or two the car industry will shift from human-driven, gasoline-powered cars to software-driven electric vehicles. Car companies believe they'll be able to navigate this transition gracefully, but Wall Street doesn't seem to believe it.
Wall Street sees Tesla, not classic companies like Ford, as the future of cars.