Tesla Motors the maker of electric cars run by billionaire Elon Musk, surged as much as 26 percent after posting its first profit and beating estimates on sales of luxury Model S sedans. Tesla’s market capitalization reached about $7.9 billion, exceeding $7.8 billion for Turin, Italy-based Fiat SpA (F), the majority owner of Chrysler Group LLC.
Tesla said it sold 4,900 Model S sedans in the quarter. The company said March 31 deliveries of the car exceeded 4,750 in 2013’s first three months, better than a prior forecast of 4,500. Full-year Model S deliveries should total about 21,000 vehicles, up from an earlier 20,000-unit goal, the company said.
By comparison, Fiat delivered 1.02 million cars and trucks worldwide in the first quarter. Revenue for the quarter totaled 19.8 billion euros ($26.1 billion).
The Tesla model S has the highest ever Consumer Reports rating of 99 In the past, the Lexus LS has also achieved a score of 99. Tesla does not get a recommended buy rating until there is more real world reliability data.
Tesla still lags behind smaller Japanese automakers, including Mazda Motor $10 billion market valuation and the $15 billion for Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru cars.
Tesla is dwarfed by Detroit-based General Motors (GM) at about $44 billion and Ford Motor (F) at about $55 billion. The market valuation of Toyota Motor, the world’s largest automaker by vehicle sales, is about $200 billion.
Porsche has a market value of $12 billion and is a model of what Tesla could be like in 2-3 years in terms of profitability and sales volume. Porsche sells about 130,000 cars and makes about $2 billion in profit.