Negative potential

I’m not entirely sold by this metric, but it does make you think:

Toyota sold almost 10 million cars last year. Divide the market value of the company by the number of cars and you get around $22,000 per car. Do the same calculation for Mitsubishi, who sold around 600,000 cars last year, and you get $10,000 per car. So people think the Toyota company is twice as good as Mitsubishi.

Do the same calculation for Tesla and you get nearly $1,000,000. That’s one million dollars, 50 times as much as Toyota, and 100 times as much as Mitsubishi. Tesla may be in fashion now, but sooner or later they are going to take a fall, and it’s going to be a big one.

Possible insulation: A substantial portion of Tesla’s income — 12 percent, according to its first-quarter report — came from selling California zero-emission vehicle credits, a market whose sole “product” has zero intrinsic value, and right now they own that market, an exceedingly comfortable position to be in. (Nissan, which has now sold a pretty fair number of Leafs, is the next entrant.)


  1. Jess »

    31 August 2013 · 4:38 pm

    That’s a lot like the investments. There’s no much collateral when there’s only pieces of paper less absorbent, and useful, as toilet paper.

  2. CGHill »

    31 August 2013 · 4:54 pm

    The difference, though, is that California has made these nebulous bits of commerce mandatory, so the state’s beleaguered taxpayers will have the honor of propping them up long after they’ve become more useless than Zimbabwean twenties.

  3. McGehee »

    1 September 2013 · 10:10 am

    The difference, though, is that California has made these nebulous bits of commerce mandatory

    It’s thinking like that that left Weimar Germans toting wheelbarrows full of cash to buy a loaf of bread.

  4. CGHill »

    1 September 2013 · 11:52 am

    True that. But we’re talking about the investment community, a group which sees nothing wrong with that sort of thing so long as they’re able to fill up all their wheeled vehicles well in advance, and then hide the rest.

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