General Motors is "well positioned" as a future mobility leader thanks to its extensive autonomous vehicle research and production, UBS research said.
UBS reiterated its buy rating on the company's shares and raised its price target, citing GM's leadership in developing automotive technology through its AV unit as well as opportunities in the ride-hailing business.
"We continue to be surprised by the performance of GM's autonomous vehicle unit," wrote analyst Colin Langan in Tuesday's note to clients. "It's doubling its AV fleet and expects to accumulate more than 1 million miles per month by 2018, giving them a competitive edge."
Langan added that GM's program is one of the best in the industry, perhaps second only to Google's self-driving car project Waymo. He raised his price target on GM shares to $50, which is 11 percent higher than Tuesday's closing price. His previous target was $39.
Langan joins other top Wall Street analysts in predicting success for the company's autonomous vehicle technology. Last month, Deutsche Bank released a report arguing that General Motors, not Tesla, is a better bet for the AV future.
GM shares have been on a tear this year, up nearly 30 percent since January, and they traded 0.1 percent higher Wednesday.
Adding to the excitement surrounding GM's autonomous innovation is the company's budding ride-hailing and rental segment known as Maven, UBS said. Currently, Maven can provide GM vehicles directly to ride-hailing drivers who previously leased them through Lyft and Uber. But as Maven grows, it could become a serious competitor to existing companies.
"Current ridesharing accounts for only ~0.1 percent of U.S. miles traveled," Langan said. "Even as cost per mile falls to 60 cents per mile, GM expects the ridesharing market to rise from ~$5 billion to $1.6 trillion."
General Motors is expected to report earnings Oct. 24 before the opening bell.