Taking it one step further, what if it did that with one of the most highly in-demand vehicles in the country? One that is considered so valuable and scarce, that a used one actually costs more than a new one?
Tesla is ramping up production to an expected 35,000 vehicles in 2014, increasing from about 600 vehicles per week currently to 1,000 cars per week by the end of the year. Gross margins increased to 25.2% in the most recent quarter and are forecasted to climbed up to 28% by year's end.
Telsa's valuation is easy to nitpick by any traditional standard, but comparing it to other automakers is simply foolish. It's not GM, no matter how many times the bears compare the valuations. Sure, it builds cars. But make no mistake: it's a technology company. And a luxury technology car company at that.
It's perfect for Google, if Mountain View is looking to go the non-licensing route by producing its own cars. I just think that Google has nothing proprietary about its self-driving cars. Mercedes-Benz is doing it. BMW, Audi, GM. You name it, and there's an automaker working on it. What makes Google that much different or that much better?
Of course, buying Tesla is becoming much more expensive now, with the market cap pushing $26 billion. And of course, someone looking to buy Tesla would have to pay a premium on top of that, not like there isn't a ton of premium already built into the share price.
If Google, which has $58.7 billion in cash and short-term investments, were to acquire Tesla, it would get a hell of a brand with a hell of a product.
I know it sounds crazy. And this would truly be a huge takeout story. Probably the biggest of the year if it happened. There's no doubt that Tesla is way overvalued.
But autonomous driving will absolutely be the future. Without a doubt. The public perception -- which, if you've done any research on autonomous driving, you will know that that's a bigger hurdle than the actual technology -- will come around, and likely much faster than most think.
Eventually every new car will have autonomous driving. It will be the new normal and people will love it. Just like they'll love charging their electric car, refueling at charging stations, and never putting a drop of gasoline in their car again.