For decades, the world of automotive had been a safe bet for most investors looking for small but predictable dividends and returns. That all changed thanks to electric vehicles and autonomous driving.

    No longer were the namesake brands a guaranteed return and no longer did business fundamentals make much sense when it came to valuations or market hype.

    The last time the automotive industry went through such a fundamental change was when Henry Ford ditched the horse and cart in favour of the Model T.

    Of course, the company that really started that gold rush for automakers was none other than Tesla. When the electric car maker went public in July 2010, the share price was $3.84 USD, as of market close last night, it is $1091.84.

    In other words, if you had invested $10,000 in Tesla back then, you would now have $2,840,000. Not bad for 12 years. If you had bought $500,000 of Tesla shares instead of an investment property, you would now have $142 million.

    Don’t feel too bad. Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) bought 9 per cent of Tesla in 2010 for about $50m and sold it all in 2014 for $740 million USD ($988m) – accounting for dilution, it would be worth more than $60 billion USD at today’s valuation ($80 billion). Daimler itself is only worth $75 billion USD ($110 billion) today.

    Ford in contrast, was $11.64 during the same month and today it sits at $16.67. Not taking inflation into account, thats about a 43 per cent increase. So your $10,000 would be $14,300.

    But it’s not just Tesla, which is today valued at $1.13 trillion USD ($1.5 trillion), that is setting market-baffling valuations.

    Rival electric manufacturer Rivian is currently worth an incredible $41 billion USD ($55 billion) – which is not anywhere near Tesla, but is actually almost identical to Ferrari (38 billion euro, $41.78b), which seems reasonable until you realise that the company made just 920 cars last year. Not 9200 or 920,000… just 920. It’s hoping to build 25,000 cars in 2022.

    So what are the most valuable car companies in the world today? Below we put together a list of the top 10 highest valuation car companies and auto manufactures.

    PositionManufacturerMarket Cap USD (AUD)Number of vehicles built in 2021
    1Tesla$1.13 Trillion ($1.5 Trillion)936,000
    2Toyota$297 billion ($396 billion)10,000,000
    3Volkswagen$105 billion ($140.3 billion)4,890,000
    4BYD$97 billion ($129.5 billion)730,000
    5Daimler$75 billion ($100 billion)2,093,476
    6Ford$66 billion ($88.2 billion)1,905,955
    7GM$64 billion ($85.5 billion)6,290,000
    8Honda$52 billion ($69.5 billion)4,500,000
    9BMW$51 billion ($68.1 billion)2,210,000
    10Stellantis$45 billion ($60.1 billion)6,049,000

    Ignoring Rivian and Ferrari, Some other brands you might find interesting are Hyundai ($35 billion USD) and SAIC Motors (MG) at $31 billion USD. Nissan is around 18.7 billion USD.

    Don’t worry you’re not reading it wrong, if you add up the market cap of every auto maker that is in that top 10 list except Tesla, their total worth is about $900 billion USD. In other words, Tesla is worth more than every other brand in the top 10, combined.

    It’s no wonder the company is set to do a share split once again in the next few weeks.

    Alborz Fallah

    Alborz is the founder of CarAdvice (sold to Nine and now Drive) and co-founder of CarExpert. He is an honourary adjunct professor & entrepreneur in residence at the University of QLD. He loves naturally-aspirated V8s, V10s and V12s and is in denial about the impending death of the internal combustion engine. The best way to reach him is via Instagram.

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