Tesla is now worth more than half of either General Motors (GM) or Ford (F). At the same time, it's expected to sell about the same number of cars in 2014 that either GM or Ford will sell by next Monday.
The discrepancy could easily be answered if Tesla were more profitable, or even expected to be more profitable next year, or the one after that, or maybe even the one after that. Unfortunately, there are no reasonable estimates for Tesla to generate anywhere near the same level of profit as the other two automakers anytime soon.
Even though GM and Ford are profitable and have a much larger market share than Tesla, Morgan Stanley (MS) this week raised its price target on Tesla from $153 to $320, in part based on 2020 possible results. At $320, Tesla's market cap is in the neighborhood of $45 billion diluted. Ford is worth less than $60 billion.
The public bought into Morgan Stanley's bullish thesis, and shares rocketed higher. The following day, Tesla announced a convertible bond offering through investment banks Goldman Sachs (GS), Deutsche Bank (DB), and -- surprise surprise -- Morgan Stanley. It's certainly plausible the timing was pure coincidence. It's up to you to decide whether it wasn't.