If you had to choose one automaker, out of the dozens out there on the marketplace, to identify as the single most important in the world, which would it be? Toyota, the world's largest automaker? General Motors, which once laid claim to the same and is still the largest in America? Volkswagen, the largest in Europe? Or maybe Hyundai, which has risen like a phoenix from the proverbial ashes to become the fourth largest in the world? Nope, nope and nope, says financial services company Morgan Stanley: it's Tesla.

The potentially startling conclusion came in the form of an investment report cited by the LA Times and issued by Morgan Stanley research analyst Adam Jones, who wrote that "Tesla Motors has transformed from a fledgling start-up to arguably the most important car company in the world."

To back up the claim, Jones asserts that Tesla is not only an emerging force to be reckoned with in its own right, but has also spurred other, more established automakers to take electric vehicles (and their champion) more seriously. It's also prompted local governments to solicit Tesla to build its new gigafactory in their state, and encompasses more US content than any other car on the road.

Although Tesla stock is currently trading at around $230, Jones values it at closer to $320 because of the positive direction in which it's heading, suggesting that it will have a one-percent share in the auto market worldwide by 2028. Is that enough to make Tesla the most important automaker in the world? Jones seems adamant, and carries with him the weight of a true financial powerhouse. For our part, we're not so sure we'd go that far, but the argument certainly has its merit.

Feel free to make your opinion heard in our informal poll below.



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  • 111 Comments
      Gearhead
      • 6 Months Ago
      If they went away tomorrow few would be effected but if important=disruptive then yes, they're definitely shaking things up.
      KeiCarLvr
      • 6 Months Ago
      Any car company that advances the automobile beyond fossil fuels and does a good job of it is the best in my book. To hell with ICEs....
        edward.stallings
        • 6 Months Ago
        @KeiCarLvr
        Ignorance is calling CO2 a pollutant when everything you eat and all our wood and cotton are made from CO2 that must be taken from the atmosphere. There is less that .04 percent CO2 (~400ppm) in our atmosphere. At what level will plants cease to grow? Answer = 200ppm. Are you aware (sure you are not) that we are well below the levels required for optimum plant growth?
      mary.keana
      • 6 Months Ago
      This is almost comical. A niche car company selling a miniscule number of vehicles give a title like this?
        knightrider_6
        • 6 Months Ago
        @mary.keana
        For every CrapWagen A8 sold in May, Tesla sold 2 Model S How's that for a niche car company?
          Jarda
          • 6 Months Ago
          @knightrider_6
          That's cute, now let's jump back to reality where World != USA... 2013 global sales: Tesla - 22,477 (90% sold in US) Audi A8 - 39,757
          mary.keana
          • 6 Months Ago
          @knightrider_6
          So NightFlight_6, Why are you choosing to compare ONE model from the huge VAG corporation, sales for ONE month, in ONE country? Please expound.
      nick.hunkar
      • 6 Months Ago
      A car most people can't afford that can only go 200-250 miles a day. They have some nice tech but it's an expensive appliance.
        dreadcthulhu01
        • 6 Months Ago
        @nick.hunkar
        While you are right that most people can't afford a Tesla right now, they are working on cheaper models to release in a few years. And the Model S can certainly go more than 250 miles in one day; Tesla has been aggressively building out their supercharger network, and it is now possible to drive up and down both coasts, and across the northern part of the country, with 30-45 minute stops every 150-200 miles or so. Tesla drivers have managed the Los Angelos to New York route in 76.5 hours, for a total distance of 3,464 miles. Or basically more than a thousand miles a day.
        fordskydog
        • 6 Months Ago
        @nick.hunkar
        A car company can't start off offering everything they ever will offer. The next version, the Model X, will be for the middle class common man. It will be cheaper and more utilitarian. Oh ye of little faith in technology. Tesla models will get cheaper and aquire longer range as they mature. Tesla is the most important car company simply for this reason: They were founded with the mission to make the world a better place for future generations in a very real and tangible way. They are worried about the future first, short term profits are tertiary. The big three, and every other maker, are worried about quarterly profits first, f the future. At most they are worried about three years out, the contemporary life-cycle of any given model. It pains me to see people so short sighted that they can't even consider how things will be in the short term future rather than the long term. If you are worried that the Model S is too expensive and too short-ranged, you probably aren't worrying about how we leave the Earth for your grand kids and beyond. You are duped and blinded into thinking the way contemporary capitalist corporations do. Pull your head out.
        Carl Engeb
        • 2 Months Ago
        @nick.hunkar

        If I spend $70K on a car I certainly want it to go farther than 200 miles before it has to sit for several hours to recharge, oy vey, how impractical a fad is this.  $70K is RS Audi world, real cars for DRIVING!

      Xajel
      • 6 Months Ago
      No, because it's not available worldwide or at least to most of the world countries... plus, Tesla tends to be a speciality brand, the cars they have are either sport or luxury ( more coming soon ) and priced accordingly, so their customers are very limited compared to the rest of prices and types. This doesn't mean they're not a big name, of course they're and I respect them and I wish if they can accelerate the variety of cars they have as well as provide the car in more areas and countries...
      fordskydog
      • 6 Months Ago
      Tesla is the most important because their R&D budget comes before profits.
      edward.stallings
      • 6 Months Ago
      82,000,000 worldwide car sales in 2013. Tesla sold 17,650. That is 0.02%. Most important? Hardly significant is more appropriate.
        Jon
        • 6 Months Ago
        @edward.stallings
        Number of cars sold and % market share are not the only metrics worth looking at. Impact on the industry is more important.
        m_2012
        • 6 Months Ago
        @edward.stallings
        Someone is highly ignorant on this subject I see. They sold 25K of the most significant, world changing cars. That far outweighs what everyone else is doing, supporting a finite supply of deadly fuel in vehicles that waste 75% of it.
          edward.stallings
          • 6 Months Ago
          @m_2012
          Tesla sold 17,650 cars in 2013, not the 25K you claim and if they were so world changing EV sales will skyrocket to maybe 1 tenth of one percent this year - lol. Ignorance is calling CO2 a pollutant when everything you eat and all our wood and cotton are made from CO2 that must be taken from the atmosphere. There is less that .04 percent CO2 (~400ppm) in our atmosphere. At what level will plants cease to grow? Answer = 200ppm. Are you aware (sure you are not) that we are well below the levels required for optimum plant growth?
        Joeviocoe
        • 6 Months Ago
        @edward.stallings
        well..... considering that Tesla could be doubling every year, on average, over the next 5 years. 15k - 0.02% - 2013 30k - 0.04% - 2014 60k - 0.08% - 2015 (model S and X) ... - 2016 ... - 2017 480k - 0.64% - 2018 (S, X, Gen III) *which is the plan* That is phenomenal since for an automaker less than 10 years since first product.
          edward.stallings
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          "Tesla could be doubling" - "That is phenomenal" - Pretty funny thought process!
        mikoprivat
        • 6 Months Ago
        @edward.stallings
        since when is the title of "most important automaker " based on quantiy of cars produced. If you follow this philosophy, toyota would be the most important, yet toyota is the least important ,most boring, outdated, lowest quality automobile in the world. Obviously your theory is very flawed
      jphyundai
      • 6 Months Ago
      The Tesla will only be significant after Bob Lutz gets one and rips its mechanical guts out. The world is full of so called PC goof troopers. Get a life! Wake up from your sheep like daze. When the fad wears off, about the time the batteries are due to be replaced, these cars will not be worth a nickel. And all the whack jobs will be complaining that the batteries cannot be environmentally disposed of.
        Joeviocoe
        • 6 Months Ago
        @jphyundai
        Ummm... newsflash. Bob Lutz has already credited Tesla for inspiring GM to make the Volt. He already has shown Tesla is significant years ago.
        m_2012
        • 6 Months Ago
        @jphyundai
        Just swap in the newest tech battery pack, the old one recycled with no waste in a matter of minutes. Bam, you have 120kw or 200 kW or whatever the tech is. More performance and range.Try doing that with an ancient ICE car.
          ThinkAboutIt
          • 6 Months Ago
          @m_2012
          Dude, people do that all the time. It's called an engine swap. and it's being done in garages around the world on a daily basis. By people who don't look at their cars as appliances.
      Carl Engeb
      • 2 Months Ago

      VW TDI 46+ MPG, in a car that is affordable, practical, and based on REALITY. In Audi or VW labels.  700+ range on a tank, now that's modern transportation

      Tesla Fan
      • 6 Months Ago
      429 retards said no
      SteveM
      • 6 Months Ago
      What makes Tesla the most important car company in the world is that they are PUSHING the boundaries forward. They are forcing people to recognize that yes, electric vehicles can be every bit as useful as gasoline engine cars. They are demonstrating that an EV can compete with the very best automobiles available. They are not content to go with half measures. No hybrids at Tesla. And they are BUILDING infrastructure to ensure that owners can go on long trips. There is no other car maker like them.
        edward.stallings
        • 6 Months Ago
        @SteveM
        EVs are not every bit as useful as gasoline engine cars. My gas car can take me to the beach from Atlanta, or to the mountains for some enjoyable cruising and back. A Tesla model S can do neither and is hauling a 4700+ pound hulk due to the disadvantageous power density of the batteries vs gasoline. Even with supercharging infrastructure, a trip in the Tesla would take significantly longer because of recharging times. There are good reasons why EVs account for less than 1 tenth of one percent of auto sales. You may ignore them but the market will not.
          Grendal
          • 6 Months Ago
          @edward.stallings
          Just beating on that one drum eh, Edward. EV's are more useful than gas cars for everything except for long trips outside of their battery range. So for about 98% of the time the car is more convenient. EV's are less than 1% of sales because they are so very new. However you neglect to mention that those that own them say they are superior to the gas cars they used to own and almost all say they will never go back to burning gas. So the lesson is that if you intend to drive long distances regularly you might consider sticking to a gas burner. If you don't then you should consider test driving an EV to see what owners are talking about.
      Joeviocoe
      • 6 Months Ago
      Autoblog Comments Enhancer (ACE) https://openuserjs.org/scripts/joeviocoe/Autoblog_Comments Updated version 0.8.4 The the look of the toolbar, better looking for Firefox now too. Number of new comments since page loaded... is in the title bar, and will update periodically. A few user options you can set in the script itself for auto-expanding pages, auto-linkify urls, and polling interval. Features: -- Expand/collapse ALL comments and replies. -- Show number of New comments since page was loaded -- Auto-Refresh when new comments detected, and scroll to latest comment. -- Hyperlinks -- Highlight and scroll directly through your own comments. -- Highlight the age of recent comments with increasing emphasis on newer posts. -- Scroll through the day's comments by age.
        Bandit5317
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        For anyone curious, this does seem to work. There aren't any new comments to test auto-refresh with yet, but the expand all option, hyperlinks, and scroll by age do work. I'm using this in Chrome.
          Joeviocoe
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Bandit5317
          testing, testing, new comment
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