Automotive maker Tesla celebrated its 10th anniversary of launching the company's initial public offering. Yahoo Finance’s On The Move panel shares the details.
ADAM SHAPIRO: We want to talk about something that is very important, especially to car lovers, and that has to do with the IPO of Tesla. Today is the 10-year anniversary. So Bill, forgive me, I got to let Rick Newman have first dibs on this because he's a car nut.
RICK NEWMAN: So the question is, what has Tesla accomplished? And to my mind, this is a couple of things. So Tesla was not the first car company to develop electric vehicle technology. General Motors developed this in the 1990s, and Toyota came out with hybrids in the early 2000s, that's partly electrification. Tesla got all the big players' attention though when it proved that it could actually sell electric-only cars as a startup.
I interviewed the vice chairman of General Motors probably back 2008 or 2009, and he told me they were looking at this little startup in California and saying to themselves, wow, if these guys can launch a car, we certainly ought to be able to do it. So they get credit for pushing the big automakers in that direction.
And then I think put aside for a minute self-driving cars, the other thing I think Tesla has done that's truly revolutionary is the over-the-air software updates, the way you get your-- the way your phone gets updated. So you cannot-- still cannot do that in most other cars. If there is a software issue or just a new version of the software, you have to go to the dealership. I had to do this recently with my Subaru, and I'm thinking to myself, why am I going to the dealership to get a new software update? Why can't they just beam this to me the way Tesla does? So I think all the automakers will be doing that eventually, and Tesla is the one that is pushing them to do it.
SIBILE MARCELLUS: There's definitely lot of drama going on with Tesla and Elon Musk, and we cover every single instance of it at Yahoo Finance. But you really have to celebrate the fact that, you know, the IPO 10 years ago, the value of their stock has blossomed since then, second largest carmaker by market cap. They started out when they IPO-ed at $17 a share. It's now about $967 a share.
And also just the story, the progression of the company-- they started out in Fremont, California. He bought an old plant, transformed it. It became a headquarters. Now they have a headquarters another plant near Shanghai, plus they're building another one near Berlin. So just a tremendous story about-- and also the fact that he's pushed electric cars at the forefront of other automakers who are reluctant to even approach that.
RICK NEWMAN: Yeah, and I'll tell you, I'm one of the people who thinks Tesla's valuation is crazy because they just don't have the scale of all the big automakers. And all the automakers have this technology at this point. Tesla is ahead on some things but not on everything, and it's behind on some things. So Tesla-- as it builds out, Tesla has to hit-- they have to be able to capture the mass market. They're getting there with the Model 3, which is cheaper than the Model S, but still around $50,000 for most buyers.
We'll see what happens when they try to claim turf in pick-up trucks, real SUVs. And if they can ever get down to vehicles for, you know, $25,000 or 30,000 that most ordinary people can buy-- if they can crack that market, that's great. But I think the company is overvalued at this point, but that doesn't take away from what they've accomplished. It's extraordinarily hard to build cars and especially to make them a go-- make a go of a company competing with all the companies that have been out there for 100 years.
ADAM SHAPIRO: All right, Rick Newman, Sibile, we're going to leave Tesla there, although nobody will ever talk their launching one of their Roadsters into space. It was actually Elon Musk's Roadster when they did that.